01.09.20

Capito, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Support Families Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

Legislation would create a grant program to fund services for families helping loved ones with substance use disorder

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)—along with Representatives David Trone (D-Md.) and Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) today introduced the Family Support Services for Addiction Act.

The new legislation would create a $25 million grant program over five years to help national and local nonprofit organizations provide family support services for addiction treatment, and would empower families with the resources to help loved ones struggling with addiction. The legislation comes as the country is facing a nationwide addiction epidemic—nearly 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdose from 2016 to 2017.

“As we continue to combat the addiction crisis in West Virginia and across the nation, it has become clear that addiction’s impact goes far beyond those struggling with substance use disorders,” Senator Capito said. “Too often, those surrounding this individual feel isolated, ashamed, and unsure where to turn for reliable information and advice. This bipartisan legislation will hopefully provide family members with the support, resources, and information they need to assist both their loved one struggling with addiction and all within their family who are impacted by it.”

“Too often, families are told that they are part of the problem. When in fact, we know that families are part of the solution,” said Kathy Blass of Wheeling, West Virginia. “With additional resources, the family support group I was leading would have helped more families who were struggling. When families are equipped with the right knowledge and tools, they can help change the outcome for their child.”

BACKGROUND:

Organizations around the country help millions of family members affected by substance use disorder every day. These groups offer services to families that are often not provided by treatment facilities nor covered by insurance. However, most of these organizations receive little to no government support. The Family Support Services for Addiction Act will help close that gap.

Administered through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Family Support Services for Addiction Act would provide national and local community programs that offer family support services with $25 million in grants over five years. Family support services include caregiver peer support, education and training, systems navigation for families trying to access treatment and other resources, counseling services, support groups for those in crisis and for those who have lost loved ones, and skill-building.

Evidence has shown that when families are involved in their loved one’s treatment and recovery, outcomes improve. Those with family members engaged in programs and services such as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) – an evidence-based model that teaches families the skills to have productive and effective conversations and interactions with their child – show a higher treatment retention rate.

Overdose deaths involving opioids have spiked in recent years, largely due to the opioid epidemic. From 2016-2017, nearly 50,000 Americans died due to opioid overdose, and the average national rate of overdose deaths involving opioids was 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. During that same time period, West Virginia experienced 833 opioid overdose deaths (49.6 per 100,000 persons).

The full text of the legislation can be found here. 

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