Federal Legislation Addresses the Opioid Epidemic

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is the single largest piece of legislation addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic.
One year ago, on October 26, 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. Every day, roughly 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opiates.
The CDC reports, “In 2016, 63,632 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States.  The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased significantly by 21.5% from 2015 (16.3 (per 100,000) to 2016 (19.8 per 100,000). Opioids—prescription and illicit—are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 42,249 overdose deaths in 2016 (66.4% of all drug overdose deaths). In 2016, the states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (52.0 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1 per 100,000), New Hampshire (39.0 per 100,000), the District of Columbia (38.8 per 100,000), and Pennsylvania (37.9 per 100,000).”
In New York alone, according to data provided by the NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Health Informatics, the number of New Yorkers who have died from an opioid overdose has increased 1,000% since 2003.  The total raw number of opioid deaths across the state in 2003 was 279, in 2016 the number of opioid related deaths had increased to 3,069.  [See NYSAC's resources on Battling the Opioid Crisis in Our Counties.]

Counties in New York State are the front-line defense and combat force to respond to this epidemic. Our local health, human services and law enforcement agencies are responding to this crisis every day.

At the Federal level, Congress has been exploring ways to assist states and local governments. On October 3, 2018, Congress took action. Both houses resolved differences between H.R. 6 and S. 2680, sending the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the single largest piece of legislation addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic, to the President for his signature. Language from many bills that had been introduced in the House and Senate to combat this crisis have been included in this legislation.

NYSAC has compiled a legislative analysis of the major provisions included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. 
NYSAC's full analysis can be found here.

View all of NYSAC's resources and reports on the opioid crisis in our counties at 

Additional analysis of the federal legislation:
  • The National Council for Behavioral Health has also included a short breakdown of the legislation. Their blog post can be found here.
  • The National Association of Counties (NACo) has also posted a short analysis of the legislation which can be found here.
  • A full legislative analysis prepared by the Majority and Minority Committee's staff can be accessed here.