News from NASADAD
- NASADAD thanks NJ Governor Christie for his work to combat substance abuse
- NASADAD attends SAMHSA listening session on State-certified behavioral health clinics
- NASADAD attends briefing on 2015 health insurance open enrollment
News from the States
- National Governors Association Policy Academy resources are available online
Around the Agencies
- EDC receives $11 million to continue efforts to reduce substance abuse
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on tobacco use among middle and high school students
- NIAAA releases guidance on treatment options for alcohol use disorders
- IOM Committee recommends measures for social determinants of health in meaningful use criteria for electronic health records
In the News
- States with casino gambling expand addiction programs
- National Council on Aging to host webinar on older adult mental health
- Network for Public Health Law announces alcohol policy webinar
News from NASADAD
NASADAD thanks NJ Governor Christie for his work to combat substance abuse
NASADAD sent a letter to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on November 3rd, 2014 acknowledging him for his work related to substance use disorders. Over the past two years, 37 States have reported increases in prescription opioid and heroin addiction. 27 States reported increases in fatal overdoses, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 46 Americans die from prescription drug overdose every day. In addition to improving access to treatment and recovery services, Governor Christie has been outspoken in pushing back the stigma surrounding substance abuse disorders. NASADAD also gave special mention to Ms. Lynn Kovich, Assistant Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services who serves as the NASADAD member for the State. Ms. Kovich’s expertise and leadership are greatly appreciated, and NASADAD is eager to make progress through this partnership. NASADAD sent a similar letter to Vermont Governor Shumlin, recognizing him for his leadership after he dedicated his State of the State address to substance use disorder issues.
NASADAD attends SAMHSA listening session on State-certified behavioral health clinics
Rick Harwood, Deputy Executive Director/Director of Research and Program Applications attended the event and Colleen Haller, Public Policy Associate participated in the web conference. In March of this year, Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act that among other provisions, created a demonstration program to establish certified community behavioral health clinics that expand access to mental health and substance use disorder services and enhance Medicaid reimbursement for such services. Certification criteria must be published by September, 2015, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) taking the lead. SAMHSA held a listening session on November 12th to seek public and stakeholder input on the criteria. SAMHSA welcomed comments on quality and other reporting, scope of services, staffing, accessibility and availability of services, care coordination, and organizational authority. Rick Harwood provided comments from NASADAD that discussed the services that providers should be able to provide, including appropriate screening, assessment, brief interventions, provision of evidence-based outpatient substance use disorder treatment services, and the ability to prescribe and manage FDA-approved medications for medication-assisted treatment, among other recommendations. Written comments may be submitted to SAMHSA through 5 pm EST on November 26th.
NASADAD attends briefing on 2015 health insurance open enrollment
Thomas Friedlander, Public Policy Intern attended the briefing, “Health Insurance Marketplaces, Round II: Results and Expectations,” on November 14th, hosted by the Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for Health Reform. The briefing served as a preview to the second open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace, which begins on Saturday, November 15th. Panelists discussed the differences between this year’s open enrollment and last year’s, which included changes to the website functionality (both at the State and federal levels) and an expanded network of provider information. Panelists pointed to evidence suggesting stable and competitive marketplaces, as well as greater accessibility to tailored insurance networks to improve the efficiency of the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, panelists examined challenges that still face an expanding marketplace, such as specialty drug prices, rising health care costs, lack of transparency, and provider consolidation.
Ed Howard, Alliance for Health Reform
Sara Collins, the Commonwealth Fund
Meena Seshamani, Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services
Daniel Durham, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
Timothy Jost: Washington and Lee University School of Law
News from the States
National Governors Association Policy Academy resources are available online
The National Governor’s Association (NGA) has made available resources from a Policy Academy meeting which took place in mid-September in Lake Tahoe, NV. The meeting focused on reducing prescription drug abuse. Materials include presentations which cover critical issues concerning prescription drug abuse, such as prevention and treatment options, effective prescription drug monitoring, and strategies for health care purchasers. Additionally, several presentations discussing evidence-based best practices are included. Alongside the many presentations made available, the NGA has provided nine published resources which detail the critical discussions and lessons learned from the Policy Academy.
Around the Agencies
EDC receives $11 million to continue efforts to reduce substance abuse
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) has received an additional $11 million to continue their work in substance abuse prevention. The funding comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), and includes an option for four more years of funding. This extension of funding comes in the wake of EDC’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT), which helped create a major network of prevention resources, both human and technical. With the increased funding, EDC will maintain and improve their technical assistance capacities in the prevention workforce and target populations who are at the greatest risk for substance abuse. Many of these activities will be directed towards the growing prescription drug abuse and underage drinking problems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on tobacco use among middle and high school students
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report detailing tobacco use among the nation’s adolescent youth. According to the data, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 22.9% of high school and students and 6.5% of middle school students currently use tobacco products. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the US. Most tobacco use starts during adolescence, when the brain is most susceptible to the negative effects reported by the Surgeon General. The last few years have seen slight decreases in the amount of combustible tobacco use, and an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes. The long-term effects of e-cigarette use are currently unclear. However, most youth who begin using tobacco will do so with cigarettes. Given the fact that youth who use more than one tobacco product are more likely to continue into adulthood, the use of e-cigarettes combined with the initial use of combustible cigarettes poses new risks for future tobacco dependence.
NIAAA releases guidance on treatment options for alcohol use disorders
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) released the consumer tool, “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help” on November 13th. The document includes information on the latest research on treatment options and what consumers should consider when selecting a particular treatment, including a set of questions consumers can ask themselves and advice for friends and family members. There are detailed descriptions of cognitive behavioral treatments and FDA-approved medications. It also includes information about support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.
IOM Committee recommends measures for social determinants of health in meaningful use criteria for electronic health records
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee made the recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The brief report details 12 standard measures of social and behavioral determinants of health. As reported in the American Hospital Association’s AHA News, “The measures pertain to 11 social and behavioral domains: race/ethnicity; education; financial resource strain; stress; depression; physical activity; tobacco use and exposure; alcohol use; social connections and social isolation; exposure to intimate partner violence; neighborhood and community compositional characteristics.”
In the News
States with casino gambling expand addiction programs
In a recent study by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), of the 23 States that allow casino gambling, 18 have statutes that provide services for people with gambling problems. An infographic by the NCSL shows that States with legalized casino gambling tend to have addiction programs underway within 10-20 years of authorizing gambling. In recent years, some States (Maryland, Kansas, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania) have authorized both gambling and problem gambling programs at the same time through their gaming laws. Furthermore, States are working to provide more free treatment and resource centers in addition to building a network of counselors.
National Council on Aging to host webinar on older adult mental health
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 20th from 1:30-3:00pm EST, concerning current mental health trends among older adults. Nancy Wilson of Baylor University’s College of Medicine will discuss these trends, which include anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention. Ms. Wilson will be joined by two representatives from two community organizations to examine successful mental health interventions among older adults.
Network for Public Health Law announces alcohol policy webinar
The Network for Public Health Law will be hosting a webinar, titled “Alcohol Law and Policy: Lessons Learned from the Field,” on Thursday, November 20th at 1:00-2:30pm EST. The webinar will address the health risks related to excessive alcohol use and explore evidence-based legal options for policymakers. By examining lessons learned in Minnesota, panelists will discuss policies related to availability, marketing, and treatment. Panelists will also discuss a new law in Washington, which abolishes State control over alcohol and its social and health impacts.