McKinley Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Prescription Opioid Abuse

Bill requires physicians and other prescribers of controlled substances to complete training to manage patients with substance use disorders

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Lori Trahan (D-MA) introduced the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. This legislation will require physicians and other prescribers of controlled substances to complete at least 8 hours of training on treating and managing patients with opioid use disorder or SUD unless the prescriber is an addiction specialist physician.

“People assume that others become addicted to substances obtained from a street corner or in a dark alley way when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people misused opioids, a majority of these cases involved the misuse of a prescription,” said McKinley. “Ensuring that physicians and other prescribers have the tools and knowledge available to them to identify and create an effective treatment course for patients with substance use disorder is critical to getting the opioid crisis under control.”

Joining Reps. McKinley and Trahan as an original co-sponsors are Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Annie Kuster (D-NH).

In West Virginia physicians are required to take 50 hours of continuing medical education         every 2 years, including 3 hours of drug diversion training and safer prescribing of controlled medications. Currently there is no requirement for physicians to take education on treating and managing patients with opioid or substance use disorder.

The MATE Act would make it so practicing physicians would be required to dedicate at least 8 of those 50 hours towards education on treating and managing patients with opioid or substance use disorder prior to their next renewal of their DEA license.

The MATE Act is endorsed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Shatterproof, Live4Lali, The Kennedy Forum, Well Being Trust, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, SMART Recovery, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, American College of Medical Toxicology, National Council for Behavioral Health, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Faces & Voices of Recovery, Young People in Recovery, National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery, National Safety Council, and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

Background:

The MATE Act of 2021 will:

  • Create a one-time, non-repetitive requirement for all DEA controlled substance prescribers (Schedule II, III, IV or V) to complete training on treating and managing patients with opioid and other substance use disorders, unless the prescriber is otherwise qualified.
  • Allow accredited medical schools and residency programs, physician assistant schools, and schools of advanced practice nursing to fulfill the training requirement through comprehensive curriculum that meets the standards laid out in statute, without having to coordinate the development of their education with an outside medical society or state licensing body.
  • Normalize addiction medicine education across certain professional schools and phase out the need for these future practitioners to take a separate, federally mandated addiction course.
  • Authorize the federal government to appropriate grants to schools and medical programs to develop the curricula used to train prescribers on how to best identify and treat SUDs.

Read the full bill text here.

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