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April 21, 2021

Following Spike in Overdose Deaths, Rep. Trone Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Access to Recovery Housing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hannah Muldavin, Hannah.Muldavin@mail.house.gov 

Following Spike in Overdose Deaths, Rep. Trone Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Access to Recovery Housing

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives David Trone (MD-06), Judy Chu (D-CA), Mike Levin (D-CA), and David McKinley (R-WV) announced that they introduced H.R.2376, 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 identify as being 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 in order 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 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.

“With overdoses on the rise in Maryland and across the country, the need for high-quality recovery housing options has never been greater,” said Rep. David 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 Rep. Judy 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 Rep. Mike 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 overdose crisis continues to affect the lives of millions of Americans. In recent years, West Virginia has experienced a growth in overdoses, a devastating outcome of substance use disorders,” said Rep. David 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 states to providing recovery housing to individuals suffering from substance use disorders and in so doing, making individuals, families, and communities healthier.” 

“America’s addiction crisis continues unabated, made worse by the COVID pandemic,” said Dave Sheridan, Executive Director of National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR). “Recovery housing has become an essential resource in our fight against this disease, yet we lack an adequate supply of quality recovery residences, and significant access barriers exist for our most vulnerable populations. This bill addresses several critical needs, including developing best practice guidelines for creating or expanding recovery housing systems, support for state efforts to implement those guidelines, a national assessment of recovery housing needs, and expanding the involvement of federal agencies with essential expertise and resources. These efforts are essential, and this bill will make them a reality. NARR enthusiastically supports the bill.”

“Recovery housing creates a sense of community and belonging. For many people with substance use disorders, it is an important component of disease remission and recovery,” said Paul H. Earley, MD, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “Even before drug overdose deaths spiked to the historic highs we’re witnessing today, there was a major need to reform the oversight of recovery housing to ensure adequate supply and appropriate recovery support services. The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act will be a critical step toward ensuring Americans with addiction can access the high-quality recovery housing they need.”

“The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery) applauds the work of Rep. Trone and co-sponsors for their work on drafting and introducing the Excellence in Recovery Housing Act,” said Zac Talbott, President of NAMA Recovery. “NAMA Recovery has long been concerned about unethical business practices in the recovery housing space, and we are also keenly aware of how individuals whose recovery is supported by an FDA-approved medication are often turned away and discriminated against by recovery houses across the country. The Excellence in Recovery Housing Act’s focus on best practices and federal standards for recovery housing will protect vulnerable individuals and save lives.”

 

For bill text, click here.

For a bill summary, click here.

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 

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees in the 117th Congress and previously served on the Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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