WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Wednesday applauded final passage of the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, legislation to combat the nation’s opioid crisis. The bill includes dozens of new policies and grant programs to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, like closing loopholes to stop the flow of illegal drugs from crossing the border, improving care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers, funding research grants to discover new non-addictive painkillers, and expanding an existing program to train more first responders to carry and use Narcan, a medication used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation. Murphy’s Recovery COACH Act and At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act were both included in the final bill. The bill will head to the president’s desk for signature. 

“When I travel across Connecticut, I hear over and over again how addiction has been tearing families and communities apart. The opioid crisis in this country is getting worse, and for the last two years, Republicans have spent most of their time trying to decimate treatment funding,” said Murphy. “This bill is a small but important step in the right direction, and I'm glad that two of my proposals were included, including the Recovery COACH Act based on Connecticut’s own program."

Earlier this year, Murphy and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) introduced their bipartisan Recovery COACH Act, which was inspired by Connecticut’s recovery coach program. The bill will provide states with grants to ensure that individuals with substance use disorder have access to specifically trained coaches in recovery themselves who can serve as a mentor, provide insight and encouragement, support for families, and help patients navigate treatment options. Murphy has hosted several roundtables and town halls, and visited hospitals and recovery centers in Connecticut, listening to recovery coaches, medical providers, and people suffering from addiction when drafting this bill.

Last year, Murphy and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced the At-Risk Youth Medicaid Protection Act, legislation to ensure that children who spend time in the juvenile justice system continue to receive much-needed health care coverage and treatments immediately after their release from custody. This provision will require state Medicaid programs to suspend, as opposed to terminate, a juvenile’s medical assistance eligibility when a juvenile is in custody. This will also make access to medical assistance for children under foster care consistent with the Affordable Care Act by extending the age of edibility to 26, and require states to process applications for medical assistance submitted by or on behalf of a child.