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Minnesota, Dakotas attorneys general sign letter calling feds to lift regulations on opioid abuse treatments

PIERRE, S.D. — Minnesota and the Dakotas have joined 35 other states and the District of Columbia in urging the federal government to remove what they say are governmental barriers preventing health care providers from offering opioid use disorder treatment.

A total of 39 state attorneys general from across the country and political spectrum signed a Monday, Aug. 5, joint letter asking the federal government update health care privacy rules, make it easier to prescribe a common opioid addiction treatment, and repeal an exclusion that currently prevents state Medicaid programs from being fully reimbursed for some mental health and substance use treatment facilities.

Attorneys General Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota and Jason Ravnsborg of South Dakota — a Democrat and two Republicans, respectively — signed onto the letter.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2.1 million Americans have faced an opioid use disorder. In a Monday news release, Ravnsborg said states "must be in a position to give proper help to those affected and afflicted."

"By removing these barriers, we can more effectively assist people in getting the help they need with their addiction," he said.