Around the Agencies
- HHS Secretary announces plans to revise MAT regulations and new naloxone grant program
- CMS prepared to implement ICD-10 beginning October 1st
- NIH announces new grant program researching the effect of substance use on adolescent brain development
- BJA announces grant awards for FY 2015 Harold Rogers PDMP program
News from the States
- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approves stocking and usage of naloxone in schools
- Pamela Martin leaves position as Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Addictions and Mental Health Division
- Ohio experiences rise in drug overdose deaths related to fentanyl
In the News
- Congress to consider continuing resolution
- President Obama’s weekly address focuses on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
- National Association of Drug Court Professionals announces Carson Fox as new CEO
- National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws updates reports on marijuana legislation
- Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds increase in average premiums for single person and family health coverage
- ONDCP announces webinar discussing evidence-based substance use prevention for parents
Around the Agencies
HHS Secretary announces plans to revise MAT regulations and new naloxone grant program
On September 17th, at the 50 State Convening to Prevent Opioid Overdose and Addiction, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Burwell announced plans to revise medication-assisted treatment (MAT) regulations. Physicians are currently allowed to prescribe buprenorphine to 30 patients in the first year of their certification, before expanding to 100 patients after receiving further authorization. HHS estimates that of the 2.5 million individuals with opioid use disorders, less than 1 million receive treatment. NASADAD anticipates draft revisions of the regulations to appear for comment in a future Federal Register.
Secretary Burwell also announced a new grant program from the Office of Rural Health Policy within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which will provide funding to States to purchase naloxone and train health care professionals and law enforcement on administering the drug to individuals who experience an opioid overdose.
CMS prepared to implement ICD-10 beginning October 1st
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is prepared to begin using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) beginning October 1st. The new ICD-10 will include new codes for medical diagnoses and hospital procedures that aim to better identify complex medical conditions. Additionally, it aims to increase coordination of care among health providers, and support the growth of new payment methods. All health care claims must use the new ICD-10 codes starting on October 1st. CMS is prepared to monitor the transition in real-time, and address potential problems through its ICD-10 Coordination Center. Read more about the transition here.
NIH announces new grant program researching the effect of substance use on adolescent brain development
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new grant program researching the effect of substance use on adolescent brain development this past week. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study will grant awards to 13 research institutions around the country to track approximately 10,000 children from the ages 9 to 10 as they enter periods of high-risk for substance use and mental health disorders. Researchers will examine the relationship between exposure to certain substances and academic achievement, cognitive ability, and brain structure and function. The study seeks to determine the impact of occasional versus regular use of various substances, and pinpoint the “brain pathways” connecting substance use and risk for mental health disorders.
BJA announces grant awards for FY 2015 Harold Rogers PDMP program
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced awards for FY 2015 Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) grants this past week. Grant awards were broken down into four separate categories: PDMP implementation and enhancement (Category 1), PDMP practitioner and research partnerships (Category 2), data-driven multi-disciplinary approaches to reducing prescription abuse (Category 3), and tribal PDMP data sharing (Category 4). Over $8.6 million in funding was awarded to various State public health departments, State justice departments, and State pharmacy boards.
News from the States
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approves stocking and usage of naloxone in schools
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approved the stocking and usage of naloxone within the State’s school districts and colleges last week. Governor Wolf and his administration determined that school districts do not need specific legal permission to stock naloxone, and that administrators in both local school districts and colleges should begin stocking the drug to reverse opioid overdoses. The announcement came with the support of State Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, State Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, and the State Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Gary Tennis (SSA), who sits on NASADAD’s Board of Directors. The Secretaries drafted a letter to the State’s public school districts asserting schools have a right to carry naloxone without additional legal approval. Online training will be made available for individuals in charge of administering naloxone in schools.
Pamela Martin leaves position as Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Addictions and Mental Health Division
Pamela Martin (SSA) announced plans to move on from her position as Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Addictions and Mental Health Division last week. Dr. Martin began working with the Oregon Health Authority in May 2013, after having previously served as the Director of the Behavioral Health Services Division and the Director of Behavioral Health for juvenile justice facilities in New Mexico. Dr. Martin has administered several Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plan programs throughout her career, and has played an active role in many national and State advocacy groups. Dr. Martin’s last day as Director will be October 12, after which she will move on to pursue a variety of professional and personal goals.
Ohio experiences rise in drug overdose deaths related to fentanyl
A new report released last week by Ohio’s Department of Health has found a significant increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths over the past two years. Ohio experienced 502 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio in 2014, compared to 84 deaths in 2013. Cumulative drug overdose deaths in Ohio also increased from 2,110 in 2013 to 2,482 in 2014. Fentanyl is estimated to be 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin, posing a significant risk to individuals with opioid use disorders. Ohio continues to fight the opioid crisis by expanding treatment options and instituting stricter prescribing guidelines for opioid painkillers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with Ohio to examine fentanyl-related overdose data to gain a better understanding of how to address and treat individuals using fentanyl.
In the News
Congress to consider continuing resolution
October 1st marks the start of the new fiscal year, but Congress and the Administration have not yet agreed on a budget for FY 2016. Senate introduced a continuing resolution (CR) on Tuesday, September 22nd, but it was voted down on Thursday, September 24th due to provisions to defund Planned Parenthood. By Tuesday, another short-term CR—which would keep the government open through December 11th—is expected to be introduced without language defunding Planned Parenthood. If the CR does not pass, a federal government shutdown is possible.
Prior to the 2013 government shutdown, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to plan for agency operations during a potential lapse in appropriations. No such memo has been issued thus far in anticipation of a 2015 shutdown. Based on the 2013 shutdown, a lapse in appropriations for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will preclude the agency from having authority to spend FY 2016 funds. During the 2013 shutdown, States were able to use previous Fiscal Year resources during the lapse.
As Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), announced his retirement on Friday, September 25th, it is more likely that Congress will pass a clean CR. The House of Representatives will need determine who its next Speaker will be before Rep. Boehner leaves at the end of October. Early indications are that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the current Majority Leader, is likely to assume the role of Speaker.
Please know NASADAD will be closely monitoring the appropriations process and reporting developments to the membership.
If you have questions, or require additional information, please contact Rob Morrison (email@example.com; 202-293-0090).
President Obama’s weekly address focuses on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
On September 26th, during President Obama’s weekly address, he spoke about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and the opioid crisis, and the importance of preventing and treating substance use disorders. Drug disposal programs are part of the President’s 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan, which also included increasing education for prescribers, expanding Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and pursuing Smart on Crime enforcement. In his address, the President encouraged efforts to reduce substance use disorders through evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery.
National Association of Drug Court Professionals announces Carson Fox as new CEO
The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) announced on Friday, September 25th that Carson Fox will serve as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Fox will lead NADCP in its justice reform efforts for Drug Courts, DWI Courts, Tribal Healing to Wellness Courts, and Veterans Treatment Courts. Mr. Fox has served the criminal justice field for nearly twenty years, and spent almost a decade as Chief Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of NADCP. When notified of his new position, Mr. Fox said that “Drug Courts represent the very best of our justice system, and as CEO, I will ensure they are the foundation of American justice reform.”
National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws updates reports on marijuana legislation
The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL) updated its series of reports on medicinal, legal, and illegal marijuana legislation last week. The reports summarize ongoing and future efforts to regulate both the medical marijuana and legal marijuana industries at the State level. Four reports are available, summarizing legislation on: medicinal use of marijuana (including low-THC / high cannabinoid products), “follow-up” legislation in States that have legalized the personal usage of marijuana (Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Oregon, and Washington), the usage of marijuana in States with ongoing legalization efforts, and legislative efforts to decriminalize or lower penalties for illicit, personal non-medical use. NAMSDL has also updated its summary of enacted State medical marijuana laws, available here.
Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds increase in average premiums for single person and family health coverage
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey conducted from January through June 2015 found modest increases in the average healthcare premiums for single person and family coverage. The average premium for employer-sponsored family health coverage “rose 4% this year to $17, 545.” The average premium for single coverage “also rose 4%, to $6,251.” The survey also examined broader trends in health coverage, noting that “the percentage of firms that offer health benefits to at least some of their employees (57%) and the percentage of workers covered at those firms (63%) are statistically unchanged from 2014.” Additionally, 4% of employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees “reported switching full-time employees to part-time status,” 10% changed part-time workers to full-time workers, and 5% reduced the number of full-time employees to be hired in the future. The study notes that many companies have continued to expand preventive care programs for their employees, including health risk assessments and wellness programs.
ONDCP announces webinar discussing evidence-based substance use prevention for parents
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has announced a new webinar on evidence-based strategies to prevent substance use for parents. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, October 6th from 2pm-3pm EST. Director of ONDCP, Michael Botticelli, will make opening remarks before Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), delivers a keynote presentation. The webinar will also feature personal anecdotes from several substance use disorder professionals.
Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, (202) 293-0090 or Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman, Public Policy Associate, at (202) 293-0090.