Nessel joins AG group pushing for federal opioid changes

    An open pill bottle
    Prescription pain pills are seen dumped out on a table at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner

    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a group of 38 other top prosecutors in requesting the federal government to ease a slate of regulations they say make it harder for those addicted to opioids to receive treatment.

    Dana Nessel | Andrew Roth photo

    In a letter written on Monday, the group of attorneys general ask leadership in Congress to “work together to remove [barriers to treatment] and allow more providers to offer treatment for opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders.” 

    Those barriers include what they say is an outdated privacy law, bureaucratic burdens associated with the prescription of the addiction-fighting drug buprenorphine, and a rule prohibiting Medicaid reimbursement for mental health of substance abuse disorder treatment in some cases.

    “My colleagues and I recognize we must evolve in our approach to combating this threat to our public health at the state level,” Nessel said in a statement Thursday.

    “We cannot protect those who suffer from opioid addiction in our states without pushing for change in the way records are released to providers and encouraging impactful legislation to advance treatment for those suffering from addiction.”

    The other AGs signing on are from: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

    Opioids flooded into Ogemaw, other northern counties, as epidemic tore across Michigan

    In June, the Legislature passed and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a slate of bills expanding access to anti-overdose drugs in the state. The state also has been awarded a total of more than $15 million, in both public and private funds, to fight the opioid crisis since the beginning of the year.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


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