Policy and Advocacy
The Grayken Center’s policy and advocacy leadership, guided by both harm reduction best practices and principles and our mission to ensure that treatment and support is available to every patient with substance use disorder, is critical to guiding the conversation on addiction policy in Massachusetts and beyond. The Grayken Center’s faculty experts keep policy makers informed on innovations in addiction medicine and provide them with the consultation and information they need to improve the availability and quality of care. In addition, the Grayken Center works closely with external partners at the local, state, and federal levels to foster programs connecting key stakeholders to the resources they need to push forward new horizons in addition care.
Grayken Policy Principles: We Believe
The Grayken Center’s advocacy is guided by efforts to advance:
Harm Reduction: We believe in the set of ideas and interventions that aim to reduce harms associated with both drug use and damage drug policies.
Workforce development: We believe that developing a well-trained, well supported addiction workforce is critical to providing effective addiction treatment.
Low-barrier housing: We believe that the active use of drugs should not disqualify someone from receiving housing and that the widespread adoption of Housing First principles is necessary in shelters and public housing.
Under Section 35, individuals in Massachusetts can be civilly committed to addiction treatment, sometimes in a prison or jail. Interested in changing that? Use the Section 35 toolkit to learn more about alternatives to Section 35, community-based organizations fighting for change, and information on how to contact your legislators to make your voice heard.
State Advocacy (Massachusetts):
H. 2088/S. 1272
|Creates a 10 year pilot program to open 2 or more supervised consumption sites||Referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. Heard by the Committee on 9/27/2021. Recording available here.|
|H. 2066/S. 1285
An Act ensuring access to addiction services
|Reforms to Section 35 that would require both men and women be housed in DPH or DMH facilities instead of DOC facilities||Heard by the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery on 11/8/2021. Recording available here. Referred to the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing on 5/31/2022.|
|H. 1462/S. 1035
An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonment
|Mandates that if a person in pretrial release is engaged in treatment, then relapse shall not be considered a violation of their conditions of release and directs judicial officers to further consider treatment needs||Referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary Heard by the Committee on 10/12/2021. Recording available here.|
Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022
|Would enact key provisions of the MAT and MATE Acts below||Introduced in the House 5/18/2022.|
|H.R. 3441/S. 1438
SUD/Opioid Workforce Act
|Provides 1,000 additional Medicare GME-funded residency positions in Addiction Medicine and Addiction Psychiatry||H.R. 3441 Referred to House Subcommittee on Health; S. 1438 Referred to Senate Committee on Finance|
|H.R. 1647/S. 340
TREATS Act (Telehealth Response to E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Service
|Makes permanent the ability to prescribe buprenorphine without needing a prior in-person visit and bill Medicare for audio-only telehealth services||H.R. 1647 Referred to House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security; S. 340 referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions|
MATE Act (Medication Access and Training Expansion)
|Creates a requirement for all prescribers to complete training on treating and managing patients with OUD/SUD. Includes grant funding for schools to develop curricula||Referred to House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security|
Medicaid Reentry Act
|Allows Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an incarcerated individual for 30 days prior to release||H.R. 955 Referred to Subcommittee on Health; S. 285 Referred to Senate Committee on Finance|
|H.R. 433/S. 485
Family Support Services for Addiction Act
|Authorizes $25 million over five years in SAMHSA grants to support family community organizations that develop, expand, and enhance evidence-informed family support services||H.R. 433 Passed the House on 5/12/21; Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions|
Public Policy Statements:
The Grayken Center’s expert faculty are sought out by state and federal lawmakers, as well as academic and research leaders to lend their knowledge for the crafting of public policy that aims to improve the lives of people who use drugs and expand access to care. We welcome inquiries from policymakers to share our knowledge and collaborate on crafting effective policy. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
We are proud to have provided input on:
- November 8, 2021: Tyshaun Perryman, Deb Goldfarb, LICSW, and Sarah Bagley MD testified before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery in favor of reforming Section 35 to prohibit men involuntarily committed under that law from being placed in a jail or prison (a 2016 change prohibited women held under Section 35 from being sent to a prison or jail).
- November 4, 2021: The Grayken Center joined advocates to press the City of Boston to stop the removal of encampments in the "Mass and Cass" area
- October 25, 2021: Hansel Lugo, Ricardo Cruz, MD, and Emily Lapidus testified in support of legislation to expand MOUD access in Massachusetts' prisons and jails and create a path to MOUD continuance for incarcerated persons post-release before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery
- October 14, 2021: Miriam Komaromy, MD, Brendan Concannon, and Victory Programs' Sarah Porter wrote in support of utilizing transitional housing as part of the solution to the crisis at "Mass and Cass" (Boston Globe)
- October 5, 2021: Miriam Komaromy, MD, Alex Walley, MD, MSc, Jessica Taylor, MD, and Miriam Harris MD, MSc speak in support of Safe Consumptions Sites at the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery hearing on September 27
- September 2, 2021: Alexander Walley, MD and Miriam Komaromy, MD provided comments in support of safe injection sites in a piece by the Boston Globe Editorial Board ("It's never been more urgent to give safe injection sites a try". Sep. 2)
- August 25, 2021: Miriam Komaromy, MD and Deb Goldfarb, LICSW responded to a Boston Globe piece (“Families demand answers in 3 jail deaths,” Page A1, Aug. 18) in support of reforms to the Section 35 process
- May 4, 2021: Miriam Komaromy, MD, Scott Hadland, MD, and Justin Alves, RN testified on best practices and innovations in the treatment of stimulant use disorders before the Massachusetts state legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery.
- January 27, 2021: The Grayken Center endorsed a set of principles aimed at guiding state and local spending of opioid litigation settlement funds as part of a coalition of 31 professional and advocacy organization, coordinated by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- July 17, 2020: Simeon Kimmel, MD shared findings from a Grayken Center study that showed discrimination against people with SUDs from rehab facilities (WBUR)
- May 24, 2020: Alexander Walley, MD told the Boston Globe Editorial Board why changes that eased methadone access during the pandemic should be continued
- March 4, 2020: The Grayken Center spoke in support of increasing the amount of addiction treatment providers at a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing
- January 1, 2020: The Grayken Center evaluated the impact and use of the "Words Matter" pledge
- December 20, 2019: The Grayken Center and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement collaborated to document effective strategies that hospitals can utilize to respond to the opioid crisis and support their patients
- September 13, 2019: The Grayken Center joined the American Medical Association to criticize HHS proposals that would loosen the privacy protections of patients receiving care for substance use disorders
- June 26, 2019: Former Grayken Center Executive Director Michael Botticelli spoke in favor of changes to Massachusetts' Section 35 laws, specifically against the incarceration of patients involuntarily committed to addiction treatment
- March 6, 2019: The New York Times featured a letter sent to the Centers for Disease Control signed by over 300 medical experts, including former Grayken Center Executive Director Michael Botticelli, warning about the implications of federal opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain patients
- December 13, 2018: A BMC nurse was featured alongside Alexander Walley, MD in an NPR piece after she was denied life insurance because she carried naloxone (Narcan), which led Senator Edward Markey to press insurers to revise their processes for evaluating Narcan prescriptions in applicants for policies, and ultimately, changes in Massachusetts' policy concerning life insurance
- November 28, 2018: Former Grayken Center Executive Director Michael Botticelli commented on a court ruling requiring an NY prison to provide methadone (New York Times)
- May 15, 2018: Former Grayken Center Executive Director Michael Botticelli testified before members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health