Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today introduced the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act of 2018. The bipartisan bill would hold fraudulent substance abuse treatment programs and recovery centers accountable by empowering the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general to bring enforcement actions to combat such scams.
The growing opioid epidemic has led to an increase of unlawful, deceptive schemes aimed at individuals struggling with addiction throughout the country. As a result, those seeking recovery assistance have come across corrupt and fraudulent recovery centers that market fake solutions or programs instead of helping the patient recover. These actions have contributed to the growing epidemic—rather than combatting the crisis and helping these vulnerable individuals.
“Individuals taking brave steps to overcome addiction should not be met with fake recovery programs and harmful treatment scams,” said Cortez Masto. “We must do everything we can to stop fraudulent and deceptive treatment providers from taking advantage of those suffering from addiction in their time of need. By empowering the FTC and state attorneys general to effectively punish and deter bad actors, we can help ensure that addiction victims and their families have access to safe, effective treatments that put them on the road to recovery.”
“It’s hard to believe that there are individuals and organizations out there contributing to the opioid epidemic by taking advantage of men and women seeking help for an addiction,” Capito said. “Unfortunately, these bad actors do exist, and we must do everything we can to hold them accountable. The bill is one way we can put an end to the fraudulent practices taking place across our country and provide help to those who are trying to chart a better path towards sobriety and a successful future.”
Specifically, the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act would:
- Clarify and reaffirm the power of the FTC to hold accountable opioid treatment scams, including deceptive treatment claims and bogus products.
- Provide the FTC additional tools, including civil penalties, to ensure bad actors face penalties and create strong deterrents to these unlawful practices.
- Protect individuals with opioid use disorder and their families from harmful and misleading addiction treatment programs or products.
- Empower state attorneys general to enforce these provisions and provide additional law enforcement to focus on these fraudulent practices.
The text of the bill can be found HERE.