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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Reintroduced in Both House, Senate

February 18, 2015 | Addictions | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, members in both chambers of Congress reintroduced legislation aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act invests much-needed funding in prevention, evidence-based treatment, and recovery supports to help Americans struggling with addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers.

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CMS to Consider Limited Exceptions to Medicaid Payment Exclusion for Residential Substance Use Treatment

February 10, 2015 | Addictions | Medicaid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is exploring ways for states to use Section 1115 Medicaid waivers to cover certain residential substance use treatment services, said the agency in a letter to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). The letter came in response to a recent request from Senator Durbin and 17 of his Senate colleagues urging CMS to use its statutory authority to revise the current payment exclusion policy that prevents community-based substance use treatment providers with more than 16 beds from participating in Medicaid.

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NIDA Invites Public Input on Strategic Plan, Drug Abuse Research Priorities

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is now accepting public comments on its Strategic Plan, which outlines a framework for the research it will support over the next five years.

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House Introduces Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Companion Bill

December 11, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, six members of the House introduced their version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Tom Marino (R-PA), Karen Bass (D-CA), David Joyce (R-OH) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), this is a companion bill to the Senate version, S.2839, which was introduced in September. The legislation would provide a series of resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand drug treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts.

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Report Details Medicaid Strategies for Preventing Opioid Abuse

November 6, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) has released a report on “State Medicaid Interventions for Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse and Overdose.” The report, which summarizes current practices and emerging opportunities for state Medicaid agencies to more effectively prevent prescription opioid abuse and overdose, offers helpful recommendations for states and providers.

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CMS Issues Guidance on Substance Use Disorder Care Delivery Transformation

October 30, 2014 | Addictions | Medicaid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Informational Bulletin outlining a framework for states to transform their substance use disorder care delivery systems and offering opportunities for states to receive intensive technical assistance through an upcoming learning collaborative.

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Support Addiction Treatment and Recovery: Contact Your Legislators Today

October 30, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation before Congress would make important investments in our nation’s addiction system, providing support for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in every state. The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 2839) authorizes up to $70 million per year over the next 10 years for activities related to overdose prevention, treatment alternatives to incarceration, medication assisted treatment, and much more.

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NASADAD Releases Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Practice Guide

October 23, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Association of State Alcohol and Substance Abuse Directors (NASADAD) has released a new practice guide to inform states’ efforts to improve and expand treatment of substance use disorders among adolescents. The release of the adolescent substance use disorder guide comes at a critical time for teens and state substance abuse agencies, amid major health system changes – such as parity and the Affordable Care Act – that create greater opportunities for young people to receive substance use disorder services, yet require substantial additional work in states and communities to be fully realized.

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New Bill Authorizes Grants to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

October 7, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

New legislation introduced in Congress would offer a number of grants to deter prescription drug abuse and assist individuals receiving addiction treatment. Authored by Reps. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 5587).

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Congresswoman Fudge Hosts Breaking Addiction Act Briefing

September 24, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

September 18, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) hosted a congressional briefing on the Breaking Addiction Act, her legislation to improve Medicaid coverage of residential substance use treatment services.

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Portman, Whitehouse Introduce Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

September 18, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

New legislation introduced in Congress would provide a series of resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand drug treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts. Authored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 would:

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U.S. Celebrates 25th Annual Recovery Month in September

September 4, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

For the last 25 years, communities and individuals across the country have joined together in September to observe National Recovery Month and celebrate the journey and achievements of the millions of Americans who are in recovery from a substance use or mental health condition.

Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use and mental health disorders; celebrates people in recovery; recognizes the contributions of treatment and service providers; and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.

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President Taps Michael Botticelli to Lead ONDCP

September 3, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Last week, President Obama nominated Michael Botticelli for the post of Director of the Office of National Drug Policy (ONDCP). The National Council has voiced strong support for his nomination, and we applaud President Obama’s decision to nominate Mr. Botticelli for this important post.

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#IceBucketCaucus

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Chuck Ingoglia

President & CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Two months ago, many Americans had never heard of an obscure neurodegenerative disease that affects 30,000 people in the U.S. Now, thanks to the #IceBucketChallenge, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a household word. With that rise in awareness has come a stunning increase in private donations to ALS research and patient support – as of today, donors have contributed $88.5 million, compared to $2.6 million during this period last year.

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Action Needed: Ask Your Legislator’s Support for Breaking Addiction Act

August 21, 2014 | Addictions | Medicaid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation before Congress would permit Medicaid payment for services provided in certain residential substance use treatment centers, helping to expand low-income Americans’ access to care. The National Council supports this legislation and encourages Capitol Connector readers to ask your Representatives to sign on as cosponsors of the Breaking Addiction Act.

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New Legislation Supports Opioid Overdose Prevention and Treatment

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation recently introduced in the Senate would authorize millions of dollars in overdose prevention programming and research in an effort to curb the growing trend of opioid overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 people die every day in the United States due to an opioid drug […]

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Breaking Addiction Act Introduced in Congress

July 24, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

New legislation introduced in Congress would improve Americans’ access to substance use treatment by scaling back a federal payment exclusion for services provided in residential settings. Introduced by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) with eight cosponsors, the Breaking Addiction Act of 2014 (H.R. 5136) would establish a five-year demonstration project for 8-10 states in which federal reimbursement would be permitted for Medicaid services provided in certain residential settings known as “Institutes for Mental Disease.”

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Senators Host Women and Addiction Forum; Linda Rosenberg Moderates

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Kirsten Reed

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

On July 22, the National Council co-sponsored a forum hosted by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) on women and addiction. Nationally-recognized researchers, practitioners, policymakers and Members of Congress including Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Amy Klobucher, and Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy discussed policy priorities to help women in treatment for addiction.

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Medication Assisted Treatment is Subject of CMS Informational Bulletin

July 17, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released an Informational Bulletin highlighting the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with evidence-based behavioral therapies—commonly referred to as “Medication Assisted Treatment” (MAT)—to help persons with mental health and substance use disorders recover in a safe and cost-effective manner. The bulletin provides background information about MAT, examples of state-based initiatives, and useful resources to help ensure proper delivery of these services.

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2014 National Drug Control Strategy Emphasizes Prevention, Treatment

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

This week, the Obama Administration released the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy, the fourth since its inaugural report in 2010. The plan outlines the administration’s approach to reducing drug abuse and preventing and treating substance use disorders.

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