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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.

Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act Introduced

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congressmen Bill Foster (D-IL) and Sean Maloney (D-NY) have introduced legislation to increase low-income and uninsured patients’ access to inpatient rehabilitation services for heroin and other opioid abuse.

The Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act (H.R. 5339) would establish a grant program under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in which states may use grant funds to provide residential or inpatient opioid addiction treatment for qualified individuals.

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House Passes Bill to Improve Law Enforcement Response to Opioid Abuse

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Legislation passed last week by the House would require the Obama Administration to issue a report on the current state of patients’ access to prescription opioid painkillers and how to improve law enforcement responses to opioid abuse, misuse and diversion. The report must evaluate:

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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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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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SAMHSA to Host Webinar on Financing Medication-Assisted Treatment

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On Friday, May 16 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. eastern time, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will host a webinar on “Medication-Assisted Treatment: Medicaid and Innovative Service Models To Finance Treatment.”

Medications can play an important role in treating alcohol and opioid dependence. For this reason, it is critical that Medicaid programs develop clinically sound and cost-effective delivery and financing approaches to provide these medications to individuals who need them. The objectives of this SAMHSA-sponsored webinar on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) are to help state and local policymakers and administrators understand:

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Senate Caucus Holds Hearing on Heroin and Opioid Abuse

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Yesterday, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Committee held a hearing on prescription drug abuse and the role it plays in the increased use of heroin in the U.S. Caucus members also examined ways the federal government can help reduce opioid abuse. This discussion is one in a series of recent hearings on Capitol Hill about opiate addiction, following reports earlier this year that efforts to stop prescription-drug abuse have resulted in a heroin boom.

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House Subcommittee Examines Approaches to Curbing Opioid & Heroin Abuse

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The growing problem of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use in the U.S. was the topic of a Tuesday morning House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing. In his opening statement, Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced the breadth of the problem, explaining that prescription painkillers are involved in more overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined and that prescription drug abuse kills more than 16,000 people per year.

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Advancing Federal Initiatives to Reduce Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse

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Chuck Ingoglia

President & CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Last week I had one of the scariest experiences of my adult life when I attended the Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, Ga. This is the third such summit sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) as a result of the devastating effects of the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse in his Congressional District.

The most startling part of the summit for me was the realization of how huge a problem the abuse of prescription opioids is in our country.

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FDA Recommends Tighter Regulations on Opioid Painkillers

October 30, 2013 | Opioid and Heroin Epidemic | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

In a major policy shift, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week recommended tighter controls on certain types of opioid medications prescribed for the treatment of pain. The changes are expected to take effect next year, pending approval from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The drugs at issue contain a combination of the narcotic hydrocodone and an over-the-counter painkiller such as acetaminophen (examples include the brand-name drugs Vicodin and Lortab, as well as their generic equivalents).

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