Senator Sherrod Brown Proposes Legislation to Treat Heroin Addiction

A record number of people have died in the state of Ohio as a result of heroin and opiate addiction, an epidemic that is also affecting the entire country. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is responding to this particular issue with proposal for legislation that could prove instrumental in reducing the number of people who die from heroin and treating those suffering from addiction. He introduced a plan that would substantially increase drug treatment for people that struggle with heroin or opoid abuse. With a proposal for a law called “the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act”, Senator Brown hopes to provide more extensive treatment while also offering lower costs to hospitals.

More Treatment for Those in Need

Brown’s main concern is saving the lives of those who could potentially experience death by overdose of heroin or opoids. The number of deaths due to heroin overdose has increased at an alarming rate in his home state and throughout the U.S.  He believes that his new law would lower costs for hospitals and more importantly save lives by allowing doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat more patients who are dealing with an addiction to heroin. The Senator is concerned that there are simply not enough providers that are available to care for patients with heroin or opiate addictions. In his opinion, it is easier for Americans to obtain heroin than it is to get help in recovering from their addiction. According to Senator Brown’s plan, treatment for heroin addiction would be more readily available to relieve the burden on hospitals and help get more addicts sober before they experience an overdose.

Lower Costs for Hospitals

An overwhelming number of emergency room visits are linked to abuse or misuse of opoid painkillers with 475,000 people a year entering the hospital nationwide. Brown believes that the amount of people receiving hospital treatment for overdoses costs the nation’s healthcare system a lot of money and his new law would have a positive financial impact. Providing more treatment for addicts to recover from heroin addiction can keep them out of the emergency rooms and reduce the costs that hospitals accumulate every year. His home state of Ohio is already taking more measures to address the problem of heroin abuse that is plaguing the nation. The Greater Cincinnati Health Council is planning to hold an educational program for hospital and healthcare leaders to discuss the impact of the heroin epidemic. The program will discuss the growing problem of addiction and how it affects law enforcement, hospitals and communities in the area.

Senator Brown’s new law would effectively increase treatment for addiction by removing federal limitations on how many patients a doctor can treat for drug addiction. Under the current law, doctors are not allowed to treat more than 30 patients for drug addiction during their first year and are also restricted to treating only 100 a year afterward. This type of limitation has led to long waits for treatment and many addicts being unable to receive the help that they need before it is too late. The limit on treating heroin addiction was put in place because of concerns that methadone would be abused if it was too widely prescribed. Brown’s changes to the law would increase the limit in the first year to 100 and after the first year the limit could be lifted for doctors who are substance abuse treatment specialists. Many doctors in the state agree with Brown’s legislation because of the number of patients in need they must turn down because of the federal limitations. If Brown’s bill passes, doctors will be more available to patients who are ready to get help for their addiction.