News: Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright (PA-17), John Conyers (MI-13), and Janice Hahn (CA-44) introduced the Access to Substance Abuse Treatment Act with 22 original co-sponsors. The legislation enhances the ability of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide access to substance abuse treatment.

“We can do more to combat substance abuse and the social problems associated with it. And we should. Studies show that every dollar spent on treatment saves four dollars in health care costs and seven dollars in public safety costs. Effective treatments already exist,” said Rep. Cartwright. “By making such treatment available to Americans who need it, this legislation is essential to combating illicit drug abuse, protecting our communities, and using federal tax dollars most effectively.”

Specifically, the bill would authorize the Secretary of HHS to offer grants to increase the availability of drug treatment, provide vouchers to individuals in underserved populations for service related to treatment, and establish programs to provide for and coordinate community-based services such as job training and housing assistance.

“It is important that we provide critical treatment services that promote hope, fosters recovery and wellness for individuals and families fighting substance abuse,” said Rep. Hahn. “Data has shown that treatment is effective. Patients who experience substance abuse can recover and lead healthy, productive lives when provided with the necessary tools. This measure will help provide job-training, housing assistance, education and other critical resources that will help breath life in to the lives of many Americans who may have fallen victim to substance abuse.”

Treatment is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce drug abuse and ameliorate its impacts on society. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates that every dollar spent on treatment saves $7.46 in lost productivity and crime-related spending. Yet, nearly 80% of the 3.5 million Americans currently abusing the most dangerous substances do not receive appropriate treatment.

“As more than 23 million Americans struggle daily with addiction and problems related to substance abuse, I welcome the reintroduction of the ‘Substance Abuse Treatment Act,’ said Rep. Conyers. “This legislation will go a long way towards improving access to treatment, chiefly by providing grants to impacted communities, and will begin to aid the 90% of people who require treatment for substance abuse but are not yet receiving care. It is well beyond time for us to address the underlying conditions of substance abuse, as a matter of public policy and public responsibility. The ‘Substance Abuse Treatment Act’ is essential, and should be promptly considered by Congress.”