McKinley Introduces Bipartisan Bill Expanding Access to Housing for Individuals Recovering from Substance Abuse

Bill helps states expand the availability of high-quality recovery housing as an option for those in and seeking recovery from a substance use disorder

WASHINGTON D.C. – This week, U.S. Representatives David McKinley (R-WV), David Trone (D-MD), Judy Chu (D-CA), and Mike Levin (D-CA) introduced the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act, which would help states expand the availability of high-quality recovery housing as an option for those in and seeking recovery from a substance use disorder.

Over 20 million Americans are in recovery from a substance use disorder, and many rely on recovery housing options that provide a family-like communal living experience in which individuals agree to abstain from substance use to aid their recovery. While these facilities are critical to those in recovery, smaller studies and anecdotal reports indicate that there are not currently enough beds in recovery housing for everyone who wants one.

“The overdose crisis continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans. In recent years, West Virginia has experienced a marked growth in overdoses,” said McKinley. “In order to combat this crisis, we must provide resources to people to aid them in recovery. This bill does just that by helping to improve access to recovery housing, which has been demonstrated as an important tool in combating substance abuse. This bill could help save lives.” 

“With overdoses on the rise in Maryland and across the country, the need for high-quality recovery housing options has never been greater,” said Trone. “By expanding recovery housing options, we’ll be able to ensure that those living with substance use disorder are able to access a substance-free environment to help them get to and stay in recovery. I want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for acknowledging the urgent need to come together at this time and support those in recovery.”

“Americans struggling with the opioid crisis who take the incredibly difficult step of seeking help should know that they are in competent hands,” said Chu. “Sadly, I have heard of too many stories of individuals who made it to a sober living home only to die when staff were unable to recognize the signs of an overdose. These deaths are preventable on the long path of recovery. And that is what the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act will ensure. By creating a standard for quality in these homes, individuals and their loved ones can know that they are receiving the care they need.” 

“The substance use disorder crisis has afflicted generations of Americans, and it’s long past time that we strengthen recovery services,” said Levin. “Many Americans have sought support at recovery homes that provide substandard care, failing to provide those who are struggling with the opportunity to recover. The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act will help fix that, and I’m glad the bill also includes my legislation requiring a federal study on the quality and effectiveness of recovery housing so we can best meet the needs of those who are struggling with substance use disorder. I’m proud to partner with Representatives David Trone, Judy Chu, and David McKinley on this bill, and I hope we can advance it soon on behalf of all Americans who have been affected by substance use disorder.”

The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act, which has been endorsed by more than 25 organizations, would require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), along with national accrediting entities and reputable providers of recovery housing services, to develop guidelines for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery housing. It would also:

  • Provide grants to states to implement these guidelines and promote high-quality housing,
  • Require the National Academy of Sciences to study the issue and make recommendations for increasing availability, improving data collection, and improving inclusivity for individuals who take medication-assisted treatment, and
  • Create an interagency working group, chaired by SAMHSA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to increase collaboration among federal agencies in promoting the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

The legislation has been endorsed by the Addiction Policy Forum; Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia; The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the Council on Accreditation; American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine; American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM); Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness; California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals; Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP); Community Anti- Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA); Faces & Voices of Recovery; The Kennedy Forum; Live4Lali; Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA); NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals; National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery); National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR); National Association for Behavioral Healthcare; National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists; National Council for Behavioral Health; Partnership to End Addiction; Shatterproof; SMART Recovery; Talbott Legacy Centers; Treatment Communities of America; The Voices Project; Well Being Trust; WestCare Foundation.

Read the full bill text  here.

Read the bill summary here.

Background:

Representative McKinley continues to be an advocate for Americans with substance use disorders. This Congress, McKinley has introduced:

  • Medication Access And Training Expansion (MATE) Act
    • 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.
  • Telehealth Response For E-Prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act
    • Supports the expansion of telehealth services for substance use disorder treatment.
  • Opioid Patients’ Right To Know Act
    • Would create a grant program to incentivize states to require prescribers to discuss the addictive qualities of the drugs with patients and inform them of alternative treatment options before prescribing them for acute pain.
  • Medicaid Reentry Act
    • Allow states to restore access to addiction treatment through Medicaid for incarcerated individuals up to 30 days before their release, providing them with the foundation they need to stay in recovery.
  • Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act
    • Would require drug manufacturers and distributors to report and halt suspicious orders of controlled substances.
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Help Patients Act
    • Help people suffering from addiction or mental illness locate treatment by linking information on treatment to the states' prescription drug monitoring program.

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