Press Releases

RENO – President Donald J. Trump today signed into law eight pieces of legislation authored or co-authored by U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) to help fight Nevada’s opioid crisis. Heller’s bills, including his legislation to expand access to treatment for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse disorders and newborns who are suffering from withdrawal, were included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act and enacted as part of a broader effort to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic and reduce the number of drug overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 757 people died from drug overdoses in Nevada in a single year and from 2010 to 2016, 85 percent of the opioid-related deaths in Nevada were deemed accidents.

Every 25 minutes a baby is born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a withdrawal condition that can occur in newborns after exposure to opioids during pregnancy, and in Nevada, the CDC has reported a 300 percent increase in the number of infants born with NAS. That is why Heller worked with his colleagues to introduce the Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act, legislation that was included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to help babies suffering from addiction recover in the best care setting. Specifically, the CRIB Act allows Medicaid to cover health care services provided to infants in residential pediatric recovery facilities in addition to hospitals. The legislative package signed into law today also includes the Help for Moms and Babies Act, another bipartisan bill that Heller co-authored to ensure women who are receiving care for a substance use disorder in a treatment facility receive prenatal and postpartum services.

“Today marks an important step for our nation, and I applaud the President for signing into law my bills that will help Nevada fight back against the opioid epidemic that has rocked communities around the state,” said Heller. “Tragically, it has been reported that there are over 700 opioid-related overdose deaths in a single year in the state of Nevada, and the number of newborns who are born with signs of exposure to opioids has increased at a rate of 300 percent. That’s why I worked to secure several provisions in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act that support newborn children and pregnant women who suffer from addiction, address opioid misuse, and help patients pursue a care plan that best works for them. As the fifth most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put forth commonsense solutions that provide Nevada’s communities with the tools they need to prevent and treat opioid addiction as well as save lives.”

Below is a full list of legislation included in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act that Heller either authored or co-authored: 

• S.2909, Assessing Barriers to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Act (Heller/Bennet). This would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify barriers to doctors’ and pharmacists’ provision of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in Medicaid. This bill would help support states’ removing barriers so doctors and pharmacists can use the least burdensome MAT distribution methods. 

• S.2911, Enhancing Patient Access to Non-Opioid Treatment Options (Heller/Casey). This legislation would clarify states’ legal authority to pursue non-opioid related prescribing.

• S.2921, Securing Flexibility to Treat Substance Use Disorders Act (Heller/Menendez). This legislation would codify the regulations permitting managed care plans to cover treatment in an institution for mental disease (IMD) for a certain number of days in a month in lieu of other types of services. 

• S.2707, Informing Seniors about Opioids Act (Nelson/Heller). This legislation would update the “Medicare and You” handbook to include information about opioid use, pain management, and alternative pain management treatments.

• S.2460, Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (Bennet/Heller/Warren/Toomey). This legislation would direct health care providers to use electronic prescribing for controlled substances for Medicare Part D transactions.  Electronic prescriptions would generate real-time information on opioid use and streamline the prescription process for both providers and their patients.

• S.2899, Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies Act (Brown/Portman/Capito/King/Manchin/Heller/Casey/Whitehouse). This legislation would recognize residential pediatric care centers within Medicaid to treat babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

• S.2922, Help for Moms and Babies Act (Stabenow/Heller). This legislation would help ensure women who are receiving care for a substance use disorder in a treatment facility receive prenatal and postpartum services.

• S.2769, Opioid Addiction Action Plan Act (Heller/Menendez). This legislation would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a plan to prevent opioid addiction and increase access to medication-assisted treatment.

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