Chairman Crowley Introduces Legislation to Address America’s Opioid Treatment Gap

May 16, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D Queens, the Bronx) announced today the introduction of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018, legislation to address the opioid treatment gap in the country by increasing the number of health care workers that serve on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

In 2016, approximately 21 million people needed opioid and other substance-use treatment, but only 3.8 million received the necessary care. A primary reason for that treatment gap is the existing shortages of physicians trained to treat addiction and substance abuse.

The Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 provides for 1,000 additional residency positions to hospitals with addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management programs. Chairman Crowley introduced this legislation with Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Dean Heller (R-NV). 

“As the opioid epidemic continues to take a toll on our communities, it is important that all Americans struggling with addiction receive the quality treatment and care they need,” said Chairman Crowley. “This bipartisan legislation would allow Congress to combat our country’s growing opioid treatment gap by addressing our physician shortage and placing well-trained physicians in hospitals where their service is vital.”

This bipartisan legislation builds on Chairman Crowley and Congressman Costello’s previous efforts to address the doctor shortage through the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2267), which enables teaching hospitals across the country to expand their residency programs.

The Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 is supported by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA).