News from NASADAD
- NASADAD attends Senate Veteran Affairs Committee hearing on Veteran Affairs Opioid Prescription Policy, Practice, and Procedures
- NASADAD attends House Energy and Commerce hearing on local responses to opioid use
Around the Agencies
- SAMHSA updates KnowBullying smartphone application in recognition of National Youth Violence Prevention Week
- SAMHSA now accepting applications for FY 2015 Offender Reentry Program grants
In the News
- Treatment Research Institute seeks input on The Support Group Project
- New York Attorney General determines Excellus Health Plan denied inpatient substance use disorder and mental health services at higher rate than other inpatient services
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids releases new resource for parents on teenage marijuana use
- American Society of Addiction Medicine releases new report on addiction specialist performance measures
- Indiana orders short-term needle exchange program to fight HIV outbreak
- Kentucky Governor signs bill designed to address heroin problem.
News from NASADAD
NASADAD attends Senate Veteran Affairs Committee hearing on Veterans Affairs Opioid Prescription Policy, Practice, and Procedures
The hearing was attended by Brian Denten, Public Policy Intern. Senators questioned panelists about ongoing investigations into pain management and prescribing procedures at different Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities. Both Senators and panelists stressed the importance of improving communication between VA facilities, private health care providers, and pharmacies in order to better monitor veterans receiving pain medication. The Veterans Health Administration is currently developing a network to address communication problems that will allow private healthcare providers access to the VA network. Research into the viability of alternative treatment models for complex chronic pain conditions continues to be conducted.
- Carolyn Clancy; Interim Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Health, Veterans Health Administration
- Gavin West; Special Assistant, Clinical Operations, Veterans Health Administration
- Michael Valentino; Chief Consultant, Pharmacy Benefits Management Services
- John D. Daigh, Jr.; Assistant Inspector General of Veterans Affairs for Health Care Inspections, Office of Inspector General
- Caleb Alexander; Co-Director, Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Carol Foster; Physician Director, Pharmacy and Therapeutics/Medication Safety, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente
- John Gadea; Director, Drug Control Division, Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection
NASADAD attends House Energy and Commerce hearing on local response to opioid use
Rob Morrison, Executive Director and Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate attended the hearing in the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday, March 26th. The panelists offered a variety of perspectives including law enforcement, substance use disorder treatment providers, researchers, neonatal medicine, and youth recovery workers. Both members of the committee and panelists highlighted the need for evidence-based practices, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), increase prevention efforts, access to naloxone, access to recovery support services, and collaboration with law enforcement. Chairman Murphy (R-PA) outlined his interest in the topic saying, “Something is desperately wrong with our nation’s response to the opioid epidemic, and it is quite literally a matter of life and death that we get honest answers and not remain misguided in our approach to how we solve this crisis.”
- Rachelle Gardner; Chief Operating Officer, Hope Academy (Recovery High School)
- Caleb Banta-Green; Senior Research Scientist, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington
- Michael Griffin; Narcotics Unit Supervisor, Tulsa Police Department
- Fred Wells Brason II; President and CEO, Project Lazarus
- Victor Fitz; Cass County (MI) Prosecutor, President of Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan
- Stephan Maxwell; Chair, West Virginia Perinatal Partnership
- Sarah Melton; Chair, OneCare of Southwest Virginia
Around the Agencies
SAMHSA updates KnowBullying smartphone application in recognition of National Youth Violence Prevention Week
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) updated its KnowBullying smartphone application this past week in recognition of National Youth Violence Prevention Week (March 23-27, 2015). The application provides tools for parents and educators to discuss bullying with children, as well as information on how to reach out to local mental health services. National Youth Violence Prevention Week serves as a time for parents, educators, and caregivers to talk about best practices to reduce youth violence. The application is targeted at the needs of children ages 3-18, and is available for free on Android and iOS devices.
SAMHSA now accepting applications for FY 2015 Offender Reentry Program grants
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is now accepting applications for FY 2015 Offender Reentry Program grants. Grant funds should be used to expand access to substance use disorder treatment and reentry programs to sentenced offenders who are returning to their communities from incarceration. Applicants are expected to form coalitions with relevant stakeholders to create programs easing the transition from incarceration to substance use disorder treatment programs. Applications are due by Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Grantees will be awarded an anticipated amount of up to $400,000 per year.
In the News
Treatment Research Institute seeks input on The Support Group Project
The Treatment Research Institute (TRI) is seeking input on The Support Group Project; a directory produced to help families struggling with substance use disorders. Launched last fall, the project aims to provide a listing of the available support groups that exist. Nearly two-thirds of all families are affected by substance use disorders, yet often struggle to find robust community resources. The Support Group Project bridges this gap by providing an easy way to access and research support group options. The Treatment Research Institute invites eligible support groups to register on the project’s website.
New York Attorney General determines Excellus Health Plan denied inpatient substance use disorder and mental health services at higher rate than other inpatient services
New York Attorney General Eric T. Scheniderman announced a settlement with Excellus Health Plan last week. Finding that Excellus denied claims for inpatient substance use disorder and mental health services at seven times the rate of other inpatient services, the settlement requires the healthcare provider to cover residential treatments and revise its claims review process for both services. Excellus will also be required to notify 3,300 members whose claims for substance use disorder and mental health services were denied, possibly returning up to $9 million to patients.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids releases new resource for parents on teenage marijuana use
The Partnership for Drug-Free kids released the new resource, “Marijuana Talk Kit: What You Need to Know to Talk with Your Kids about Marijuana” this past week. Targeted at parents of teenagers, the Talk Kit provides parents with information on how to meaningfully discuss marijuana with their children. The increased prevalence of medical and legalized marijuana, in addition to the normalization of marijuana in pop culture, can make it difficult for parents to talk about marijuana with their children. 41 percent of marijuana users report initiating use before the age of 15, making early parental involvement especially important.
American Society of Addiction Medicine releases new report on addiction specialist performance measures
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released a new report on addiction specialist performance measures this past week. The report is part of a multi-year ASAM project to standardize evaluation and management processes for substance use disorders, in addition to raising the overall quality of substance use disorder care throughout the country.
Indiana orders short-term needle exchange program to fight HIV outbreak
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced a short-term needle exchange program to fight a growing HIV outbreak in southeastern Indiana. The program will last 30 days in Scott County, where 79 recent HIV cases have been linked to intravenous drug use. Local county authorities will have authority over the program. Though historically opposed to needle exchanges, Governor Pence stated, “In response to a public health emergency, I’m prepared to make an exception to my long-standing opposition to needle exchange programs.”
Kentucky Governor signs bill designed to address heroin problem
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed bipartisan legislation combatting the State’s heroin epidemic into law this past week. The bill enacts stricter punishments for both low and high level heroin dealers, including mandatory sentencing requirements. The legislation also provides more than $20 million a year for treatment and other anti-drug efforts, and gives local health departments the option to establish needle exchange programs (with approval from city and county governments). Pharmacists are now allowed to prescribe naloxone to people at risk for an opioid overdose and families of people at risk under the new law. Finally, the new law grants Good Samaritan protections for individuals who call for help during an overdose. These protections offer limited immunity from some drug related charges such as possession and drug paraphernalia.
Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, (202) 293-0090 or Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate, at (202) 293-0090.