WASHINGTON, D.C. – People’s Action is proud to end the year with a victory that will help turn the tide on the overdose crisis and bring much needed help to people struggling with addiction. The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act is included in the FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill that the Senate passed today. The Omnibus Appropriations bill is expected to move through the House on Friday without issue. The MAT Act will increase access to proven treatment for people with opioid use disorder and removes bureaucratic barriers that have blocked healthcare providers from being able to prescribe buprenorphine, a life saving treatment for people facing opioid addiction and seeking treatment.
“In a year where we’ve lost over 108,000 of our friends, family members and neighbors because of the failure of policymakers to address the overdose crisis, I am thrilled to see Congress take this first step in better serving people in need.” said Ellen Glover the Drug Policy, Harm Reduction & Criminal Justice Campaign Director at People’s Action. “Our 40 member organizations across the country joined with others to fight long and hard over the past two years to save the lives of their friends and their communities. We convinced legislators across the political spectrum, in red states and blue, that saving lives is not a partisan issue. It will take all of us to end this crisis.”
“I have seen first hand how the overdose crisis has devastated my community. Being unable to access treatment is a question of life or death. I am proud to see that Congress has chosen the opportunity of life for our people. This gives me hope for my community, our state and the nation overall,” said Nancy Woods, the Black, Indigenous People of Color and Civil Rights Organizer at River Valley Organizing based in Portsmouth, OH. Woods continues, “by building relationships across race, place and experience with overdose, the Overdose Crisis Cohort at People’s Action drew from our personal experiences to educate lawmakers and the public about the urgent need to pass the MAT Act.”
“Accessing buprenorphine changed my life. Without it, I don’t know if I’d be here, working to serve my community. With the MAT Act being passed, more people from my community who are currently struggling with substance use disorder will also have the opportunity for their life to be changed,” said Jennifer Twyman, Organizer at VOCAL-KY, who struggled with chaotic substance use for over a decade, but is no longer an active drug user since getting connected to MAT. “I’m proud that VOCAL-KY is a part of People’s Action’s Overdose Crisis Cohort that grounds our work in the principle that no matter where you live or what you look like, we all want to see our friends, family and neighbors live long, fulfilling lives.”
“We are grateful to Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY), Representative Michael Turner (R-OH), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as the lead sponsors of the MAT Act and Congressional Leadership for moving the MAT Act through the FY23 Omnibus spending package. This victory proves the power of organizing people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities. Together we can end the overdose crisis,” said Glover.
People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 40 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 29 states–united in the work of building a bigger “we.”