Dear Representative Kuster and Senator Markey,
The undersigned organizations in the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose (CSOO) are writing today to voice our support for your bill – the Community Re-entry through Addiction Treatment to Enhance (CREATE) Opportunities Act. CSOO is a coalition of diverse organizations united around common policy goals to reduce opioid overdose deaths. CSOO members aim to elevate the national conversation around opioid overdose and work to enact meaningful and comprehensive policy changes that support evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services.
The morbidity and mortality statistics related to addiction, and in particular addiction involving opioid use, are grim. In 2017, there were a record 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States, two-thirds of which have been linked to opioids. i. Furthermore, those who report opioid use are significantly more likely to interact with the criminal justice system than those who do not report opioid use. ii. It is vital that those who are incarcerated while suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) receive the treatment they need to improve their health outcomes and decrease recidivism. Fortunately, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has proven to be successful in treating OUD. Those receiving MAT as part of their treatment are 75% less likely to experience a mortality related to addiction than those not receiving MAT, and are more likely to maintain gainful employment. iii. Additionally, MAT has been shown to reduce recidivism, illegal drug overdose deaths, and infectious disease transmission.iv Given the positive impact of MAT, we appreciate your leadership in the introduction of the CREATE Opportunities Act. Read more.