Congressman Tim Ryan Joins Ohio House Democrats in Re-Introducing Bill to Address Ohio Drug Epidemic

 Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13), with Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), and Congresswomen Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) and Joyce Beatty (OH-3), introduced The Breaking Addiction Act of 2017.  As Ohio continues to grapple with a deadly heroin/opioid epidemic, this legislation breaks down barriers to treatment and increases the number of beds available for patients suffering from substance use disorder.

Under current law, the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion prohibits Medicaid matching payments for services provided in treatment facilities that have more than 16 beds.  The Breaking Addiction Act removes this outdated policy, allowing states to better utilize Medicaid to serve more people.

“Each day I turn on the news and learn about another life taken too soon because of heroin or prescription drug abuse. As a country, we must do more to ensure these men and women have access to the care that is desperately needed, and that means taking a hard look at our current treatment structure. That is why I am proud to join Congresswoman Fudge in introducing The Breaking Addiction Act, which addresses the growing drug crisis and increases access to addiction treatment. Not another day should go by that a person can’t find help due to this outdated system. As Democratic Co-Chair of the Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, I will continue to urge my congressional colleagues to move this legislation forward and help combat this ongoing epidemic,” said Congressman Ryan.

“Too many Ohioans in the 11th Congressional District suffer from substance abuse, and they are not alone. Our state and nation are in the middle of a deadly epidemic that, if it continues, will have devastating effects on our future,” said Congresswoman Fudge. “While many seek care, they are turned away because communities cannot meet the demand for treatment. By getting rid of the antiquated IMD exclusion, The Breaking Addiction Act not only increases access to treatment, but gives states the flexibility and resources they need to save lives.”

“Families and communities devastated by the tragedy of opioid addiction need relief.  Empty promises and shell game budget maneuvers will not stem the tide of suffering and heartache that so many families endure as a result of the opioid crisis in America.  I urge Congress to pass this bill because drug addiction is a crippling disease and it deserves the same level of treatment and care as other illnesses,” said Congresswoman Kaptur.

“Every day, on average, nearly 10 Ohioans die from an accidental opioid overdose. In fact, the State of Ohio has the unfortunate distinction of having the most opioid-related overdoses than any other state in the nation. These startling statistics are proof positive that we need to do more to help Ohioans—and Americans across the country—struggling with addiction get the treatment they need. The Breaking Addiction Act will do precisely that. I thank Congresswoman Fudge for introducing this important piece of legislation, and will work with her and the entire Ohio Democratic Congressional delegation to get this much-needed bill signed into law,” said Congresswoman Beatty.

The Breaking Addiction Act was first introduced by Reps. Ryan and Fudge in 2014 directing the Secretary of HHS to accept state IMD exclusion waiver applications. The 2017 version enhances the previous legislation by getting rid of the IMD exclusion completely to reduce red tape and allow states, like Ohio, to address the growing drug epidemic faster.

Read The Breaking Addiction Act of 2017.