New Legislation Aims To Increase Opioid Treatment Providers By Wiping Out Student Loans
Legislation introduced recently in the U.S. Senate, known as the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, aims to expand the number of health professionals to curb the opioid crisis. Moreover, the bill will address the current lack of providers that offer opioid treatment and addiction recovery services across the United States.
‘The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK.)
To accomplish this, the bill would offer incentive to students to pursue work in substance use disorders by reducing their student loan debt up to $250,000 if they work for six years in regions with high rates of overdoses or a shortage of treatment providers.
“…we need more trained substance use and addiction professionals to provide treatment and recovery services. This legislation would provide much-need[ed] incentives to increase the number of providers in areas that desperately need them.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 1 in 10 Americans of the 22 million addicted to substances receives treatment. This treatment disparity is mostly due to a lack of professionals working with those who suffer from addiction.
“By providing loan repayments to those who want to become substance abuse treatment professionals, we are offering a significant incentive to attract new workers in under-served areas as well as to retain current employees.”
A companion bill was also introduced in the U.S. House by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY).
Regarding the bill, Sen. Hassan noted that we need to bolster treatment “in order to stem…the tide of the opioid epidemic, and one major barrier is a shortage of treatment professionals.”
The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than 64,000 people in the U.S. died from an overdose related to drug or alcohol. Of those, more than 42,000 involved prescription or illicit opioids.
f you or someone you love is abusing substances, please seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many resources available to help you or your loved one.
Please call us today at tel:888-380-0342 for a free consultation.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology