D.C. Update – February 8, 2017


Around the Agencies

News from the States

In the News

Upcoming Events


Around the Agencies

BJA releases grant announcement for Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Grant Program

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced that it is accepting applications for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Grant Program. The grant program will support the planning and implementation of comprehensive strategies to address the opioid crisis. This grant program is associated with one of the provisions (section 201) in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which was signed into law in July 2016.

The grant program has six categories: 1) Overdose Outreach Projects; 2) Technology-assisted Treatment Projects; 3) System-level Diversion and Alternatives to Incarceration Projects; 4) Statewide Planning, Coordination, and Implementation Projects; 5) Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Implementation and Enhancement Projects; and 6) Data-driven Responses to Prescription Drug Misuse.

For category 4—Statewide Planning, Coordination, and Implementation Projects– eligible applicants are the State Administering Agency (SAA) responsible for directing criminal justice planning or the State Alcohol and Substance Abuse Agency (Single State Authority, or SSA). For category 2—Technology-assisted Treatment Projects—applicants are limited to State agencies. State agencies include State administrative offices, State criminal justice agencies, and other State agencies involved with the provision of substance use disorder services to justice-involved individuals such as the SAA, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the SSA.

The deadline to submit an application is April 25, 2017.

View the competitive grant announcement and learn more about each of the six categories here.

Access NASADAD’s section-by-section summary of CARA here.

OWH publishes paper on opioid use, misuse, and overdose in women

Office on Women’s Health (OWH) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a white paper titled, “Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women.” The paper presents what is currently known about the opioid crisis, describes promising practices for addressing opioid use disorder prevention and treatment for women, and identifies gaps in research. The report was developed as part of an initiative supported by OWH to examine prevention, treatment, and recovery issues for women who have an opioid addiction, and/or have experienced and opioid overdose.

Read the white paper here.

NIAAA releases alert on Alcohol’s Effects on Immunity

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has released an alcohol alert on Alcohol’s Effects on Immunity—Increasing the Risks for Infection and Injury. Because of alcohol’s effects on the immune system, individuals who consume excess alcohol are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, may have more complications after surgery, and often take longer to recover from illness, compared with those who drink at lower levels. According to the document, disruptions in immune system function also contribute to long-term organ damage associated with alcohol consumption. The alcohol alert reviews the normal functioning and processes of the immune system and describes how alcohol interferes with these functions.

Read the alcohol alert here.

News from the States

Ohio experiences decline in opioid prescribing and dispensing in 2016

The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy’s Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) has  released a report noting that opioid prescribing in the State declined for a fourth consecutive year in 2016. Between 2012 and 2016, the total number of opioids dispensed in Ohio decreased by 162 million doses (20.4 percent), from a peak of 793 million doses to 631 million doses. The number of opioid prescriptions provided to Ohio patients also decreased by 20 percent during the same period. The report also finds a 78.2 percent decrease in the amount of people engaged in the practice of “doctor shopping” since 2012. Additionally, the use of OARRS continued to increase, reaching an all-time high of 24.1 million requests in 2016.

Read the full 2016 OARRS report here.

Louisiana issues standing order for naloxone

The State of Louisiana has issued a standing order for naloxone, which allows for participating pharmacists to dispense naloxone to laypeople, including caregivers, family members, and friends of individuals who use opioids. This standing order also includes directions on how to administer naloxone to someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose. The standing order is the result of legislation that made it legal for medical professionals to prescribe naloxone.

In a press release, Governor John Bel Edwards stated that, “As we continue to work to address the addiction problem, this standing order is one step we can take to help reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.” Naloxone accessibility and distribution is one of the key strategies in the opioid prevention and treatment state plan, notes Dr. Janice Petersen, State Director for Louisiana and member of NASADAD.

Read more about the standing order here.

In the News

Regulatory freezes impact final rule on confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records

The Administration has issued a memorandum delaying implementation of all new and pending federal regulations. This regulatory freeze impacts the recently-released Final Rule modernizing federal regulations that govern the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records (42 CFR Part 2). It also freezes the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) seeking comment on additional proposed changes to those regulations. The Final Rule and SNPRM were released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, 2017. The confidentiality Final Rule was scheduled to take effect on February 17th, but as a result of the regulatory freeze, it will not become effective until March 20th at the earliest.

Read the Administration’s memorandum here.

Read the Final Rule here.

NGA sends letter to Congress with recommendations on how to approach health care reform

The leaders of the National Governors Association (NGA) have sent a letter to Congress with recommendations on how to approach health care reform. In the letter, NGA Chair Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and Vice Chair Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) encouraged Congress to “maintain an open and robust dialog with governors” as they debate potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The governors also state that, “It is essential that Congress allows sufficient time for States to review and respond to proposed changes, build on current State efforts, ensure a smooth transition, and minimize budgetary impacts to States.” The letter was sent to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Greg Walden (R-OR); Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Kevin Brady (R-TX); and Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

Read the full letter here.

AHA urges action to stabilize 2017 Health Insurance Marketplaces

Last week the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a statement urging Congress to work with the Administration to stabilize the Health Insurance Marketplaces for 2017. The statement, which was submitted to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) for a hearing on stabilizing the individual health insurance market, noted that, “More than 11.5 million Americans signed up for 2017 health coverage through the federal and State marketplaces by late December, and the final number is expected to increase when accounting for January enrollments.” The association recommended that Congress and the Administration continue payment of the cost-sharing reductions; maintain and strengthen the special enrollment periods; maintain and build on recent changes to the risk adjustment program; increase access to coverage through third-party payment of premiums; and support the development of State-level marketplace solutions.

Read the full statement here.

NASHP releases overview of ACA provisions and their repeal implications for States

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) has released a chart outlining provisions within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the implications that repealing those provisions would have on States. The overarching categories covered in the chart include: Federal support/enforcement to expand coverage; Medicaid; Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Delivery System Reforms; Provider Payments; Provider Workforce; Quality Improvement; and Population Health. NASHP states that as a result of ACA repeal, “There could be changes to benefits offered through health plans. Without assurance that all plans include comprehensive benefits, consumers may experience challenges in purchasing plans that meet their health needs.”

View the chart here.

Upcoming Events

SAMHSA webinar on therapeutic relationships in women’s services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting a webinar on The Power of Authentic Therapeutic Relationships in Women’s Services. This is the first in a five-part Relationships Matter! series, which explores the role of relationships in the lives of women experiencing mental health and substance use issues. This webinar will focus on the therapeutic relationships that help women engage in services and recovery.  Topics will include: why relationships matter; trust and rapport in service delivery; defining and creating therapeutic alliance; peers and peer relationships; cultural understanding and responsiveness; managing relationships within group settings; and building connections.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 14th at 2:00pm EST.

Register for the webinar here.

PDMP TTAC webinar on Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Grant Program

The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Training and technical Assistance Center is hosting a webinar for those interested in applying for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Grant Program. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 21st at 1:00pm EST. The webinar will feature a presentation from Tara Kunkel, Senior Policy Analyst at the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) within the Department of Justice (DOJ), who will provide an overview of the grant and explain the application process. To register, send an email with your name, agency/business name, and telephone number to info@pdmpassist.org. During the week of the meeting, a link will be sent with login instructions to those who have registered.

Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, or Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman, Federal Affairs Manager, at (202) 293-0090.