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. Key harm reduction areas we seek to move forward on:

  • Ending discrimination and stigma against people who use drugs
  • Reducing overdoses and overdose deaths
  • Increasing distribution of naloxone (Narcan)
  • Advocating for the adoption of Good Samaritan laws
  • The creation of supervised consumption sites (SCS) to prevent overdoses and overdose deaths
  • Increasing distribution of sterile syringes and safe smoking supplies to reduce the risks of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other conditions associated with drug use
  • Increase the distribution of drug checking supplies
  • Removing barriers to treatment: We believe that treatment should be available to all who need it. We are focused on increasing the availability of care by supporting:
    • Removal on the cap for contingency management program incentives
    • Regulatory changes relevant to addiction medicine practice
    • Increasing the availability of treatment
    •  Eliminate the X-waiver requirements for prescribing buprenorphine
    • Changing methadone prescription requirements and enabling take-home methadone prescriptions for certain patients

Workforce development: We believe that developing a well-trained, well supported addiction workforce is critical to providing effective addiction treatment. We support efforts to:

  • Provide specialized addiction fellowships for medical providers and nurses
  • Certify and credential recovery coaches,
  • Expand the number of addiction treatment positions eligible to bill for services
  • Increase the racial and ethnic and racial diversity of the entire addiction-treatment workforce

Low barrier access to substance use services:

  • 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

State Advocacy (Massachusetts): 

Bill

Summary

Status

H. 2088/S. 1272
An Act relative to preventing overdose deaths and increasing access to treatment

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

Reform to Section 35 that requires both men and women be housed in DPH or DMH facilities instead of DOC facilities

Referred to the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery Heard by the Committee on 11/8/2021. 

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

National Advocacy:

Bill

Summary

Status

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 Services

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

H.R. 2067
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

H.R. 955/S.285
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 [email protected] to learn more. 

We are proud to have provided input on: