05.26.21

Baldwin, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Establish Stewardship Fee to Support Substance Use Treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined her colleagues to reintroduce the bipartisan Life Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, legislation that would establish a stewardship fee for opioid manufacturers and expand access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. In 2020, over 90,000 Americans died from drug related overdoses – the highest year of overdose deaths ever recorded – with over half of those likely involving an opioid or synthetic opioid. And in Wisconsin, early reports indicate a 34.5 percent jump in opioid-related overdose deaths from October 2019 to October 2020, compared to the previous year.  

“I’ve met with local health officials, law enforcement and those who have lost loved ones throughout Wisconsin, and it’s clear Washington must do more to be a strong partner in supporting local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to provide resources to fight the opioid epidemic and I am proud to reintroduce this bill with Senator Manchin to help provide states with the tools they need to save lives.”

This bill would establish a stewardship fee to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance use treatment through the existing Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. To pay for this treatment, this bill would establish a 1 cent stewardship fee on opioid manufacturers and importers for each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill. The bill includes a rebate for cancer related pain and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used as part of medication-assisted treatment. 

The funding would be used to improve access to substance use disorder treatment in a number of ways, including:

  • Establishing new residential and outpatient SUD treatment facilities.
  • Recruiting, training, and increasing reimbursement for mental health providers providing SUD treatment, particularly in medically underserved or rural communities. 
  • Expanding access to long-term residential treatment programs.
  • Establishing or operating support programs that offer employment services, housing, and other support services to help those recovering transition back into society.
  • Establishing or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Establishing or operating SUD treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.

Senator Baldwin is cosponsoring this bipartisan legislation alongside Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Background information on the LifeBOAT Act is available here. 

Bill text is available here.