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October 2, 2017

For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Steve Marshall
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Page 1 of 2
Alabama Attorney General


“Road to Recovery” Act Will Make Drug Treatment Options
More Available to Alabama Residents
(MONTGOMERY)–Attorney General Steve Marshall, along with a bipartisan
coalition of 39 Attorneys General and the National Association of Attorneys General,
today called on Congress to pass legislation that changes federal law to make treatment
for drug addiction more affordable and accessible for Americans who most need it.
HR 2938 is the “Road to Recovery” Act. The coalition of Attorneys General sent
a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, describing the national epidemic of heroin
and opioid abuse and overdose deaths, and stating: “Ö [W]e cannot arrest our way out
of this problem, because it is not just a public safety challenge – it is a public health
challenge as well.”
A recent study reveals that drug overdoses claimed as many as 65,000 American
lives in 2016, a 24 percent increase from the year before. In Alabama last year, it is
estimated that about 736 people died as the result of a drug overdose. The ‘Road to
Recovery’ Act will help those struggling with addiction gain access to treatment, and
eliminate a decades-old Medicaid rule that limits residential treatment options.
Attorney General Marshall, who co-chairs Alabama’s Opioid Overdose and
Addiction Council, said mental health care is an essential component to fighting the
opioid epidemic. “We are attacking this crisis on many fronts, through tough law
enforcement against drug dealers, and through stronger laws and regulations to combat
the proliferation of opioids. It is vital that we also make it easier to help those who have
a problem and are trying to overcome it. This federal legislation will remove a
roadblock that limited treatment options, and will facilitate better treatment for drug
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
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The “Road to Recovery” Act will help increase access to treatment for opioid
addiction by removing a more than 50-year-old provision in the Medicaid program that
currently acts as a barrier to residential addiction treatment.
The bill addresses the “Institutions for Mental Diseases” (IMD) exclusion which
was created in the original 1965 Medicaid legislation to prevent the funding of large,
residential mental health facilities. While the exclusion led to the closure of what were,
in many cases, inhumane institutions, it now has the unintended effect of limiting
Medicaid funding for residential treatment facilities, which can be one of the most
effective ways to treat drug addiction.
The “Road to Recovery” Act will remove the exclusion for addiction treatment
facilities only. This will help open new avenues for addiction treatment while
maintaining appropriate restrictions on mental health facilities.
The change in the law is supported by health care providers, insurers, treatment
centers, governors of both political parties and the President’s Commission on
Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
A copy of the letter of the Attorneys General follows this news release.
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October 2 , 2017

Hon. Paul Ryan Hon. Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Minority Leader
H-232, The Capitol H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Kevin McCarthy Hon. Steny Hoyer
Majority Leader Minority Whip
H-107, The Capitol 1705 Longworth Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Greg Walden Hon. Frank Pallone
Chair Ranking Member
Energy and Commerce Committee Energy and Commerce Committee
2125 Rayburn House Office Bldg. 2322A Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressional Leaders:

As state attorneys general, our offices are on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic.
We write today in bipartisan support of HR 2938 (“Road to Recovery Act”), which
will expand a key tool in this battle.

America’s opioid crisis is getting dramatically worse. A recent study indicates that
drug overdoses claimed as many as 65,000 American lives in 2016, a 24 percent
increase from the year before. We fight this battle every day, arresting drug dealers
and sweeping illegal drugs off the streets to keep them out of our communities.

But we cannot arrest our way out of this problem, because it is not just a public safety
challenge – it is a public health challenge as well. People often develop opioid
addiction through prescribed medical usage, with no intent by the patient to engage in
abusive behavior, simply because of the addictive properties of opioid drugs. Drug
addiction is a disease, not a crime. If we truly want to end this crisis, we need to focus
on its root causes, including a lack of treatment for those suffering from addiction.

HR 2938 will remove an unnecessary restriction on Medicaid funding for in-patient
drug treatment. The restriction is a holdover from the original 1965 Medicaid law that
was intended to discourage the use of inhumane and ineffective state-run asylums.
The bill will remove this restriction for drug treatment while appropriately keeping it
in place for mental health institutions. This change has been called for by providers,
the medical establishment, governors of both parties and the President’s Commission

on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis because it will make treatment

affordable for those who need it, and create market incentives for new treatment

resources. The bill also contains a provision to make it easier for children to access
1850 M Street, NW
drug treatment.
Twelfth Floor

Washington, DC 20036
If we have any hope of reversing this terrible trend, we need every treatment option at
Phone: (202) 326-6000
our disposal. Therefore, we respectfully ask you to work to ensure the passage of HR
2938 to help us fight this epidemic.

Mike DeWine Josh Shapiro
Ohio Attorney General Pennsylvania Attorney General

Steve Marshall Jahna Lindemuth
Alabama Attorney General Alaska Attorney General

Mark Brnovich Cynthia H. Coffman
Arizona Attorney General Colorado Attorney General

George Jepsen Matthew P. Denn
Connecticut Attorney General Delaware Attorney General

Karl A. Racine Pamela Jo Bondi
District of Columbia Attorney General Florida Attorney General

Douglas S. Chin Lawrence Wasden
Hawaii Attorney General Idaho Attorney General

Lisa Madigan Derek Schmidt
Illinois Attorney General Kansas Attorney General

Andy Beshear Jeff Landry
Kentucky Attorney General Louisiana Attorney General

Janet T. Mills Brian Frosh
Maine Attorney General Maryland Attorney General

Maura Healey Bill Schuette
Massachusetts Attorney General Michigan Attorney General

Lori Swanson Tim Fox
Minnesota Attorney General Montana Attorney General

Adam Paul Laxalt Gordon MacDonald
Nevada Attorney General New Hampshire Attorney General

Christopher S. Porrino Hector Balderas
New Jersey Attorney General New Mexico Attorney General

Eric T. Schneiderman Josh Stein
New York Attorney General North Carolina Attorney General

Wayne Stenehjem Mike Hunter
North Dakota Attorney General Oklahoma Attorney General

Ellen F. Rosenblum Peter F. Kilmartin
Oregon Attorney General Rhode Island Attorney General

Alan Wilson Marty J. Jackley
South Carolina Attorney General South Dakota Attorney General

Sean Reyes T.J. Donovan
Utah Attorney General Vermont Attorney General

Mark R. Herring Robert W. Ferguson
Virginia Attorney General Washington Attorney General
Brad Schimel
Wisconsin Attorney General