TREAT Act Aims To Expand Scope Of War Against Opiates

Jordan Puccinelli (podium) talks while Senator Brown (middle seat) and others listen (pics: Brian Bull, WBEZ (inset)).
Jordan Puccinelli (podium) talks while Senator Brown (middle seat) and others listen (pics: Brian Bull, WBEZ (inset)).
Featured Audio

Under current federal guidelines, only doctors with special training in addiction can prescribe one of the most effective treatment medications: suboxone. And the doctor is limited to 30 patients.

Senator Brown says the proposed law -- The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act would increase the number to 100. Plus...

"....it would permit certain nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat addicted patients, again up to 100 a year. It would allow providers after one year, to treat more than a hundred patients as long as they meet certain requirements.”

Greater capacity of care and staff would make a huge difference, says Jordan Puccinelli. He’s a former heroin addict now turned Cleveland State law student. He spoke about how treatment and counseling turned things around for him.

“I just have a future. Nothing would be like it is today without recovery, it’s just such a beautiful thing.”

More than 1,900 people died from overdoses in 2012, a new record.

Health providers say they’re strained in trying to address the high rates of people addicted to heroin and pain killers.

Dawn Brumfield is Director of Signature Health, that provides addiction and mental health services. She backs Senator Brown’s efforts to get the TREAT Act passed.

“We prescribe buprenorphine. And we have three prescribers, two of them can treat 100 people, and one can treat 30 right now. And we’ve many, many, more phone calls that come in….we try not to have a waiting list. We manage it the best we can. But if they were able to prescribe to an unlimited number of people, we could help more people.”

The TREAT Act was first introduced in the Senate last summer, but didn’t advance.

When asked about its chances in the new Congress, Senator Brown said it’s unclear but he’s hopeful.

Support Provided By

More Wcpn Schedule
More Wclv Schedule
Schedule
Donate
90.3 WCPN
WCLV Classical 104.9
NPR Hourly Newscast
The Latest News and Headlines from NPR
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.
This text will be replaced with a player.