The Overdose Prevention Initiative at GHAI urges the U.S. Senate to act during Recovery Month, pass the MAT Act

Statement of Libby Jones, Program Director of the Overdose Prevention Initiative, Global Health Advocacy Incubator

September 6, 2022

September is Recovery Month — a month to honor the more than 20 million Americans in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Evidence-based treatment is the first step toward recovery, and medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are proven to significantly reduce the risk of overdose and support those who need them on the road to recovery.

This month, the Overdose Prevention Initiative at GHAI is dedicated to advocating for increasing access to buprenorphine, an FDA-approved MOUD, through passage of the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act.

Buprenorphine has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of overdose death, and it keeps thousands of people with OUD from returning to illicit drug use. The medication is a proven and evidence-based form of recovery, but onerous, outdated federal regulations have stigmatized this medication and made it unavailable and inaccessible to millions of people in the United States — many of them residents of rural areas. If passed, the MAT Act will fix this barrier, making buprenorphine more available and accessible for Americans with OUD.

On Wednesday, June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, which contained the MAT Act. The package passed with near-unanimous support (402-20). This overwhelming support was echoed by 165 national, state, and local organizations in a letter to Senate and HELP Committee Leadership urging them to pass the MAT Act. You can find the text of the letter, which sent on Overdose Awareness Day (8/31), and the full list of signatures here.

During Recovery Month, the Senate has an opportunity to pass the bipartisan MAT Act. the Overdose Prevention Initiative at GHAI urges the Senate to meet the moment and pass the MAT Act to increase access to OUD treatment.

Since 1997, the United States has lost more than one million people to drug overdose. More than 108,000 of those deaths occurred in 2021 alone. If nothing changes, we are projected to lose one million more people to drug overdose by 2030. Each person lost to the U.S. overdose crisis leaves behind children without a parent, lost siblings and children, friends, and communities. Overdose deaths are preventable through evidence-based treatment, including buprenorphine. By passing the MAT Act, the Senate can prevent future deaths and help people with substance use disorder find recovery.

Established in 2021, the Overdose Prevention Initiative at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator advances policy solutions that save lives and end the U.S. overdose crisis. The Initiative is dedicated to reducing inequities and disparities in substance use disorder care and expanding access to harm reduction services and substance use disorder treatment.

The Overdose Prevention Initiative is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and is a partnership between the Global Health Advocacy Incubator and the Tobacco Free Kids Action Fund.

For questions, please contact Ben Orton-Vipond at