The Patients First Act public hearing. Thank you to Governor Brian Kemp for his leadership on this Issue

I am Jeff Breedlove with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.
The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse congratulates Governor Kemp, Lt. Governor Duncan, Speaker Ralston, and the leadership of the Georgia General Assembly on Georgia Access.
This important step in the ongoing process to provide effective and affordable coverage to the people of Georgia demonstrates the commitment of our state leadership to address this complicated issue.
As the state wide Recovery Community Organization, the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse approaches this issue with one essential position.
Given that more Georgians are dying from overdoses and suffering from Substance Use Disorder than other cause – it is imperative that whatever the final product looks like it is in the best interest of the taxpayers of Georgia that we enhance – not impede – the ability of the Georgia Recovery Community to utilize services available.
Any plan or product which, in any manner, fails to transformationally address the needs of Georgians suffering from Substance Use Disorder will be a plan or product which is Dead on Arrival with the over 800,000 Georgian’s in Recovery and our families, friends, and allies.
Perhaps, most importantly, it is time for Georgia to accept that Georgia is in a crisis regarding Substance Use Disorder and it is going to get a lot worse before it better.
Georgia would be wise to enhance funding to address risky use and addiction at the initial point of the process and transition away from our current approach of focusing on Recovery in the final stages of the process.
By example, we would not wait until a person with diabetes was in acute shock before we funded programs around the disease of diabetes. Regrettably, because of the STIGMA, surrounding the disease of Addiction, Georgia has often failed to properly and effectively invest the appropriate resources at the appropriate place in the life cycle of Substance Use Disorder.
It is our profound hope that this process serves as a platform to revisit Georgia approach to access to services and that we start saving more lives, saving taxpayer dollars, and restoring families across Georgia.
The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse looks forward to partnering with Governor Kemp and our state leadership as they continue to perfect the process and ensure those who suffer from Substance Use Disorders have safe, effective, and affordable access and funding for the quality insurance coverage they deserve and need.
This is a time for constructive collaboration and productive work and GCSA is eager to move forward with Governor Kemp as we work together for the people of Georgia.