On May 12, 2021, bipartisan bill H.R. 433, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act, was passed on the U.S. House floor. The bill was introduced by Congressman David Trone (D-MD) along with Congressman Dan Meuser (R-PA) in January. The bill plans to create a $25 million grant program over five years to help national and local nonprofit organizations provide family support services for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. However, it must first pass the Senate and then be approved by President Biden in order to go into effect.
The family support services to which the bill will grant $25 million over 5 years will include caregiver peer support, education and training, systems navigation for families trying to access treatment, counseling services, and support groups for those in crisis and for those who have lost loved ones. The bill’s passage comes one month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that nearly 90,000 Americans died from a drug overdose between September 2019 and September 2020 — a record breaking 29% increase in just one year.
These numbers can also be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Congressman Trone notes, “for most families, it’s nearly impossible to navigate our behavioral health care system, and COVID-19 has made it even harder.” However, evidence has shown that when families are an active part of their loved one’s treatment, retention rates noticeably improve. The passage of this bill, which will help fund these services for families, should play an important role in easing the ongoing addiction epidemic.
Bill H.R. 433 has been endorsed by Addiction Policy Forum, as well as by the Partnership to End Addiction (formerly Center on Addiction + Partnership for Drug-Free Kids), the Kennedy Forum, American Psychological Association, and Faces & Voices of Recovery, along with several other state organizations. The bill now waits for its presentation in the Senate.
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