Patty Murray

11/30/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2023 18:56

Senators Murray, Collins, Baldwin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize Important Substance Use Disorder Prevention Programs for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Murray negotiated and secured passage of bipartisan SUPPORT Act in 2018 as top Democrat on Senate HELP Committee; Bipartisan Promoting Maternal and Child Health Through Substance Use Prevention Act would reauthorize portion of legislation dealing with post- and prenatal health

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member and former Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), joined U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduce the Promoting Maternal and Child Health Through Substance Use Prevention Act to reauthorize key prenatal and postnatal health initiatives established in the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act, comprehensive legislation Murray passed in 2018 to help address the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid crisis. Senator Murray negotiated and passed the bipartisan SUPPORT Act into law in 2018 as top Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee and is now working with Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to reauthorize this important legislation in full.

The legislation Murray and Collins introduced today would extend for five years the portion of SUPPORT Act that authorizes programs carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research and prevent substance use disorder among pregnant and postpartum women. These CDC programs support data collection on prenatal substance abuse and misuse, research on prenatal and postnatal substance use prevention, evaluation of treatment and cessation efforts, and public outreach and education efforts.

"When I was negotiating the SUPPORT Act, I traveled across Washington state to speak directly with health care professionals and families about what the opioid crisis was doing to their communities-and I heard firsthand about the effects the crisis was having on babies born to mothers battling substance use disorder," said Senator Murray. "As the opioid epidemic continues to steal precious lives in Washington state and throughout our country, reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act-especially these programs dealing with prenatal and postpartum health-could not be more important. Our bipartisan legislation will extend the CDC's important work addressing the root causes of the opioid crisis and make sure pregnant women and mothers have the care and treatment necessary to treat addiction."

"Ensuring the health of expectant mothers is the best preemptive measure we can take to support the wellbeing of both the mother and our next generation," said Senator Collins. "This legislation would ensure that critical research, data collection, and educational programs on the effects of prenatal substance use continue, and help to reduce the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome in Maine and across the country.

"The fentanyl and opioid crisis continues to devastate communities across the country and sadly, expectant mothers and their newborn babies are not spared. We can and must do more to ensure that every American struggling with substance use disorder has access to the treatment and resources they need to get better, and that is especially true for pregnant women and new mothers," said Senator Baldwin. "I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation to help identify the root causes of this crisis, better prevent substance use in prenatal and postpartum women, and ensure that every baby can get the strong start they deserve."

Senator Murray led passage of the original SUPPORT Act as Ranking Member of the HELP Committee in 2018, working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate to develop the bipartisan bill which includes a package of solutions to help address the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid crisis. The SUPPORT Act, originally known as the Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA), came together after months of bipartisan work from Senator Murray and her colleagues to find ways to help curb substance use disorders in communities ravaged by the opioid crisis in Washington state and across the nation. The legislation included several provisions Senator Murray fought for to support children born to mothers battling substance use disorder, including trauma-informed care programs and increased access to mental health care for children.

Earlier this month, Senator Collins introduced the Peer Support Services Center of Excellence Act to support individuals in recovery through proven recovery support systems. This bill would reauthorize and modernize the National Peer-Run Training and Technical Assistance Center for Addiction Recovery Support, which Senator Collins created as part of the 2018 SUPPORT Act.

The text of the legislation is HERE.