Reps. Marino, Bass Introduce “Helping Americans Seek Treatment” Act
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Marino (PA-10) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37) introduced H.R.4769, the Helping Americans Seek Treatment Act of 2018.
This legislation requires the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to increase awareness of the National Helpline by conducting a national campaign to inform the public on how to get in contact with the National Helpline and the information it provides. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
H.R. 4769 also requires SAMHSA to inform individuals calling into the Helpline about available pre-arrest referral programs. A pre-arrest referral program is a tool that can be used to steer low-risk drug offenders toward treatment rather than prison. Individuals with substance use disorders have been helped across the country by police departments assisting those seeking treatment and educating communities on ways to seek help.
Congressman Marino said the following regarding the introduction of this bill:
“We have seen too many people lose their lives to drug addiction over the years with no clear end in sight. This is a serious problem and Congress must act. As a former District Attorney and United States Attorney, I understand the importance of strict drug laws. However, I do not believe we can arrest our way out of this opioid crisis. The “Helping Americans Seek Treatment Act” will help individuals suffering with substance use disorder and their families get the information they need to seek treatment and live a healthy, drug-addiction free lifestyle.”
Congresswoman Bass said the following:
“As we grapple with an expanding opioid epidemic and the consequences of a past crack epidemic that together have touched each corner of our country, we must find new and creative ways to help those affected. I’m proud to cosponsor this piece of legislation, which will improve access to prison alternatives and lifesaving services. We’ve seen the devastation that attempting to arrest our way out of a drug epidemic can cause. This bill offers alternatives to past failed strategies and I urge my colleagues to support it. “