The Respond to the Needs in the Opioid War (NOW) Act (HR 2922, 116th Congress) would take a three-prong approach to addressing the ongoing opioid crisis in the US.
First, the Act would establish the Opioid Epidemic Response Fund with an authorized $5 billion in annual funds for fiscal years 2020 through 2024. This fund would be distributed across federal agencies including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration ($3.65 billion), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ($500 million), the Food and Drug Administration ($65 million), the National Institutes of Health ($500 million), the Health Resources and Services Administration ($235 million), and the Administration for Children and Families ($50 million). Broadly, these funds would be used to support prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder.
Second, the Act would authorize increased funding for regional, state, and tribal responses to the opioid crisis.
Third, the Act would bolster patient access to opioid use disorder treatment services through explicit coverage of methadone under Medicare, among other measures.
The ongoing opioid crisis in the US is estimated to cause 130 deaths per day. A number of legislative proposals, including this Act, seek to reduce rates of dependence and overdose on opioids.