SMACNA Endorses Bipartisan Legislation Modernizing Access To Opioid Treatment

SMACNA meets with cosponsors, issues letter to both Houses of Congress urging lawmakers to cosponsor and pass legislation that would make the treatment of opioid dependency more accessible and allow board-certified physicians and psychiatrists to prescribe treatments.   

   Donald Norcross (D-NJ)

SMACNA is endorsing a pair of bills advancing in the United States Senate and House of Representatives designed to improve access to measures that would aid in treating individuals experiencing Opioid Use Disorder (OID). The Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (MOTA) addresses outdated regulations that address the prescription and dispensing of methadone and other medications used to treat the condition.

Both the Senate version (S. 644) and the House version (H.R. 1359) enjoy bipartisan support. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) are co-sponsoring the Senate version, while Representatives Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Don Bacon (R-NE) are co-sponsoring the bill in the House.

SMACNA members have long encouraged and supported established substance abuse assessment and treatment programs and outreach initiatives across the nation. SMACNA provides our member firms with resources on mental health, suicide, and drug and alcohol prevention. SMART’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) provides education, awareness, and a membership action program for those dealing with problems associated with mental health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were nearly 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2020 – a 36% increase over the previous year, with estimated deaths surpassing 100,000 in 2022. The construction industry has one of the highest injury rates in the U.S., and opioids have commonly been prescribed to construction workers to treat the pain caused by these occupational injuries. In addition, Construction workers are at greater risk for overdose, with studies in Massachusetts and Ohio showing that they were seven times more likely to die of opioid-related overdoses than the average worker. Since the use of opioids has led to addiction and overdose deaths, it is essential for workers, employers, and policymakers to understand the risks and needed alternatives.

In discussing SMACNA’s support of MOTA, Stan Kolbe, SMACNA’s Executive Director of Legislative and Political Affairs, stated, “With hundreds of thousands dying and becoming dependent on opioids each year, Congress should soon act to pass H.R. 1359 and S. 644 so Americans with opioid use disorder can get the medically effective treatment where and when they need it to aid in their recovery.”

Click here to read the endorsement letters for the House and Senate versions of the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act.