The American Medical Association released a statement in response to Gov. John Carney’s signing into law a bill that will increase access to life-saving treatment for people suffering from substance use disorder.

“I want to thank Gov. Carney, Sen. Townsend and Rep. Bentz for their leadership on this extremely pressing issue,” said AMA President Patrice Harris. “Opioid overdose death rates continue to rise, and removing unnecessary administrative barriers to evidence-based treatment for SUD is pivotal to ending this epidemic across the country.”

“Delaware’s opioid overdose death rate rose 64% between 2016 and 2017,” said Harris. “State lawmakers saw their families, friends and neighbors suffering from this epidemic and took action. Every single state should enact similar life-saving legislation, and I encourage them to do so before more lives are lost.”

“On average, more than 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose and an estimated 2 million have a substance use disorder related to prescription opioids,” said Harris. “Yet, Delaware is only the second state this year to pass legislation of this magnitude, expressly prohibiting insurance-based barriers to life-saving treatment.”

The bipartisan legislation passed with near unanimous support. The new law will require health insurance carriers in Delaware to cover medication assisted treatment for SUD without prior authorization.