Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for S. 1046, the “Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act.” This bipartisan bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent last year, and we respectfully urge you to consider this important legislation during the next work period.
There is a tremendous need for substance abuse treatments for those that are incarcerated. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has estimated that as many as 65% of detainees have a diagnosed substance use disorder. They have also indicated that 20% of these individuals were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they were apprehended. Additionally, drug overdose deaths have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report that showed that approximately 100,000 Americans have died as a result of an overdose since April 2021. This is nearly a 30% increase from the same time period in 2020. Most of these deaths, more than 75,000, have come from opioids such as fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances. The NIDA has also indicated that 15% of individuals incarcerated have an opioid use disorder. This nationwide problem has only worsened and shows no signs of stopping. Congress must act to address this issue that is impacting all our communities.
This legislation reauthorizes the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) grant program through FY 2026 at $40 million annually and would make important improvements to the program. It would require that appropriate medical personnel are trained on the science of addiction and have knowledge of the latest research regarding substance abuse. This bill would expand options for treating substance use disorders by explicitly allowing programs to adopt and use approved medication-assisted treatments. It would also require that programs are affiliated with providers who can administer medications for treatment after incarceration. These changes will help to ensure the continued care for the incarcerated and reduce the chance of relapse or recidivism.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we support S. 1046 and urge for the immediate passage in the House as soon as possible. If I can provide any additional information on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.