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Senate Enrolled Act 141, authored by State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) was ceremonially signed into law today by Gov. Eric Holcomb. SEA 141 aims to combat the opioid epidemic by establishing modest regulations for Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) programs, which offer Suboxone as a treatment for opioid addiction.

“In 2018, more than 100 new OBOT providers popped up across Indiana, bringing the total number of Suboxone clinics and practitioners in the state to around 650,” Houchin said. “By contrast, the number of methadone clinics allowed to operate in Indiana is strictly capped by state law at 27, and the clinics are highly regulated. SEA 141 establishes similar guidelines for Suboxone clinics so those who need help fighting addiction can rest assured knowing they are receiving quality treatment.”

From 2014 to 2018, the amount of Medicaid dollars spent annually on Suboxone increased from $7.8 million to more than $29 million. Companies have been able to easily open OBOT facilities and some begin using Medicaid dollars without the intention of actually helping addicts through the full process of recovery. 

The framework of regulations in SEA 141 will help ensure Indiana’s Medicaid dollars are being used to treat patients holistically, with the long-term goal of recovery. 

SEA 141 requires providers to, among other things, do the following:

  • Search INSPECT, Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program, for each patient before prescribing to them and four times per year during treatment;
  • Perform mental health assessments on each patient;
  • Provide ongoing supportive therapy, such as counseling, to each patient; and
  • Outline a specific treatment agreement with each patient prior to treatment.

“The opioid epidemic has been ruining Hoosiers’ lives for too long, and it is time for us to fight back,” Houchin said. “By taking a three-point approach of prevention, treatment and enforcement, the state of Indiana is working to fight against this crisis and improve the mental and physical health of Hoosiers, and I am proud to contribute to this effort.”