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Ranking Member Cassidy Introduces SUPPORT Reauthorization Act to Continue Effort to Address the Nation’s Opioid and Mental Health Crisis

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act of 2023, which reauthorizes important programs that bolster prevention, treatment, and recovery services for Americans with substance use disorders and mental illness. The SUPPORT Act is set to expire on September 30th.  

“The opioid and mental health crises are tearing families apart,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation ensures programs supporting our most vulnerable Americans do not lapse and can reach all communities.” 

At a HELP Committee hearing on youth mental health, Cassidy stressed the importance of reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act on time and his concern that the Committee has not formally considered or marked up bipartisan text with few legislative days left before the programs expire. 

During a HELP Labor markup last month, the first partisan one held by the committee since 2009, Cassidy sounded the alarm that committee time being used to pursue partisan priorities with no chance of passing Congress, impeding the committee from making needed progress on health care reauthorizations. 

The SUPPORT Act Reauthorization of 2023: 

  • Reauthorizes expiring programs that support prevention, treatment and recovery, such as residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women, training for first responders, resources for individuals in recovery re-entering the workforce, and programs to support children and youth mental health. 
  • Ensures access to treatment for patients with treatment-resistant depression.   
  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to finally issue a special registration process for practitioners to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. Congress first directed DEA to do this in 2008 and then again in 2018.  
  • Directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a review of at-home drug disposal standards and systems to allow people to more effectively dispose of unused drugs to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.  
  • Requires a report from the Department of Labor (DOL) on the 25-year implementation of mental health parity laws, including most recent statutory requirements. 
  • Provides guidance to states on how to treat individuals with Serious Mental Illness and Children with Serious Emotional Disturbance. 

A leader in Congress for strengthening mental health services, Cassidy helped author and pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which made significant resources available to improve mental health care for families and children, including for school-based services. Last Congress, Cassidy passed legislation to reauthorize and strengthen resources Cassidy first secured in the passage of his Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, which supports federal mental health and substance use disorder programs. 

Click here for a full section-by-section of the legislation.


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