October 3, 2018

Contact: Kathy Melley, (617) 791-0708

(BOSTON, MA) – Statement of Alice Dembner, director of the Substance Use Disorders Program at Community Catalyst, in response to passage of the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in the U.S. Senate today.

“Today, the Senate approved the latest opioid response bill to address addiction and drug overdose deaths nationwide. We applaud members of Congress for keeping this public health issue at the forefront of their legislative agenda. We appreciate that this broad bill package includes elements along the continuum of care – prevention, treatment, peer recovery services, housing and trauma-informed care – and expands access to residential care and medication-assisted treatment.

“However, we need to bring these initiatives to scale and go beyond the proposed small-scale grants and pilot programs, and push for the comprehensive reform needed to make meaningful change for people with substance use disorders. A top priority for Congress must be to infuse these initiatives with the level of funding needed to address a problem of this magnitude.

“More than ever, communities across the country recognize that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing or criminal issue. We need to continue in this vein and prioritize efforts to improve health care services and community-based supports.

“As the bill heads to the President’s desk, we remind federal policy makers that the work does not end with this legislation. We appreciate the attention and commitment to this issue and urge members of Congress to keep pushing to improve the lives of people with substance use disorders.”


About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. Headquartered in Boston, Community Catalyst has offices in Washington, DC, Atlanta, New York, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @HealthPolicyHub.