As part of announcement, White House and HHS Officials visit New Jersey recovery center and tour mobile methadone van

Atlantic County N.J. — Yesterday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a new rule, effective July 28, to streamline registration requirements for opioid treatment programs that want to include a mobile component. As part of the announcement, Regina LaBelle, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Tom Coderre, Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) toured one of the few remaining “legacy” vans that provides medication for opioid use disorder for at-risk individuals at the Atlantic County Jail. They also participated in a roundtable at John Brooks Recovery Center with providers and partners at the New Jersey Department of Human Services, as well as graduates of the treatment program.

There are currently more than 1,900 narcotic treatment programs (NTPs) registered with DEA; however, only 13 operate mobile components like the one in Atlantic County. There are many communities – rural, urban, and Tribal – that do not have access to this life-saving treatment. This rule marks the first opportunity to add mobile components to NTPs since 2007.

“Yesterday, we saw firsthand how a mobile methadone van is providing critical treatment and making a difference in the lives of incarcerated individuals at Atlantic County Jail,” said Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Regina LaBelle. “The success of this program is exactly why the Drug Enforcement Administration’s new rule is a significant step forward. By making it easier for treatment programs to obtain a license to operate a mobile component, we can get more people the help they need – especially those in underserved communities.”

“Yesterday’s visit and thoughtful discussion provided a glimpse into a better future for Americans grappling with addiction, where innovative solutions bring evidence-based treatment directly to the places where people need it,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Tom Coderre, the interim leader at SAMHSA. “The DEA rule, announced yesterday, will save lives and open doors for many recovery success stories, like the ones I was heartened to hear during our visit to New Jersey.”

“In the United States, we have been facing an opioid epidemic for more than a decade,” said DEA Assistant Administrator for Diversion Control Tim McDermott during a press call earlier in the day.  “Although DEA is a law enforcement agency, we know we cannot arrest our way out of this devastating problem.  The Administration, DOJ, DEA, HHS, among many others, recognize this and are squarely focused on efforts to improve the use of MAT in order to reduce overdose deaths and help opioid-addicted Americans recover.”

“We’re very excited by the DEA’s announcement because here in New Jersey we know this works,” said New Jersey Acting Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “The mobile medication-assisted treatment van run jointly by New Jersey Human Services, Atlantic County and the John Brooks Recovery Center serves individuals both during and after incarceration, saving lives and leading to decreased recidivism. Medication-assisted treatment works, and treatment is often most effective when it is brought directly to the people who need it. With this new rule removing a critical barrier to treatment for individuals with substance use disorder, we look forward to seeing mobile treatment programs expand across New Jersey and the country.”

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Year One Drug Policy Priorities include:

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment;
  • Advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy;
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts;
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use;
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances;
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  • Expanding access to recovery support services.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan was a down payment on these priorities, investing nearly $4 billion in behavioral health and substance use disorder supports. The President’s FY22 budget request calls for $10.7 billion to support research, prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services, with targeted investments to meet the needs of populations at greatest risk for overdose and substance use disorder. The budget also includes significant investments in reducing the supply of illicit substances.

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