ATTORNEY GENERAL JASON RAVNSBORG JOINS 39 STATE COALITION URGING CONGRESS TO REMOVE FEDERAL BARRIERS TO TREAT OPIOID USE DISORDER

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Monday, August 5, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has sent a letter to Congressional leadership in both chambers, asking for the removal of federal barriers that are currently preventing health care providers from offering treatment for opioid use disorder. The letter, led by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, was signed by 35 other attorneys general.

Opioid use disorder is the physical and psychological reliance on opioids. Symptoms of opioid addiction include uncontrollable cravings for the drugs and the inability to control opioid use despite its negative impacts.

"To effectively treat opioid use disorder we must be in a position to give proper help to those affected and afflicted," said Ravnsborg. "By removing these barriers, we can more effectively assist people in getting the help they need with their addiction."

Attorney General Hunter said it's estimated that 2 million Americans struggle with opioid use disorder.

"States are on the front lines and are combining all of the resources at our disposal to stop the current crisis," Attorney General Hunter said. "Although we have been successful in many ways, there is more that can be done by the federal government. By eliminating the barriers outlined in our letter, Congress can take meaningful, productive steps that will benefit those currently struggling with addiction before it's too late."

The letter outlines three areas that need to be addressed:

"The opioid epidemic is tearing families apart all over our state and nation," said Attorney General Stein. "Opioid addiction, like all chronic illnesses, requires treatment for people to get healthy. We must remove all unnecessary barriers between people with opioid use disorder and the treatment they need. I urge Congress to take these needed steps."

South Dakota is joined on the letter by attorneys general from Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Read the letter here:

https://atg.sd.gov/docs/Letter%20Federal%20Barriers%20to%20Treatment%208.5.2019.pdf

The public is advised to contact their local state's attorney, local law enforcement, or the Attorney General's office with any further questions they may have at (605) 773-3215 or atghelp@state.sd.us