IN THE NUMBERS
This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that more than 107,600 Americans died from drug overdoses from December 2020 to December 2021, setting another tragic record in the nation’s substance use crisis. Additionally, the data shows overdose deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids rose to an estimated 80,8016 in 2021, up from an estimated 70,029 in 2020.
- House Committee Releases Bipartisan Mental Health and SUD Package
- Lawmakers Request FDA to Update Opioid Labeling
- Senate Subcommittee Reviewed Budget for HHS
- HHS Launches Maternal Mental Health Hotline
House Committee Releases Bipartisan Mental Health and SUD Package
Earlier this week, House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022. This legislative package addresses the impending implementation of the 9-8-8 hotline, substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery, improving workforce initiatives, and more. On Wednesday, the House E&C Subcommittee on Health held a markup for the six bills in the package. All six pieces of legislation passed out of the Subcommittee and are expected to be considered by the full Committee next week.
Lawmakers Request FDA to Update Opioid Labeling
Late last month, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mike Brain (R-IN) sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf, urging the FDA to update its policies for labeling opioid prescriptions. In their letter, the Senators suggested that the labeling for long-term use of opioids be revised to remove unsupported claims about long-term efficacy, replace the term “abuse deterrent” that can be misleading to consumers, and evaluate the effectiveness of enriched enrollment randomized withdrawal trials. The lawmakers requested that the FDA provide a timeline and plan for pursuing the suggested reforms by May 18th.
Senate Subcommittee Reviewed Budget for HHS
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing to discuss the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The budget request included $127 billion in discretionary funding and $1.7 trillion in mandatory funding for HHS and its agencies – an overall increase in funding for the Department. Throughout the hearing, Members inquired about proposals and funding related to substance use and mental health prevention and treatment services. Secretary Xavier Becerra asserted that HHS is planning to expand access to Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and highlighted funding provisions within the FY 2023 request aimed at implementing this expansion. Read a summary of the hearing here.
HHS Launches Maternal Mental Health Hotline
On May 8th, HHS launched a new toll-free maternal mental health hotline for expecting and new mothers experiencing mental health challenges. The hotline offers an array of support, such as interventions from trained counselors who are culturally and trauma-informed. Additionally, the hotline will partner with community-based and telehealth providers as needed. Mothers can call or text 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) and connect with a counselor at no charge with a language preference option.
Hill Day at Home 2022. On Wednesday, June 8th, join the National Council for Mental Wellbeing as we demonstrate the power of our unified voices at Hill Day at Home 2022! You’ll get to hear from policy experts, receive key legislative updates, and raise the volume on critical issues throughout our field –all for free and from the comfort of your office or home. Together, we’ll raise awareness about important legislation and urge lawmakers to invest in critical mental health and substance use care funding. Reserve your virtual seat today.
HAPPENING ON THE HILL
SAMHSA Mental Health Month Webinars. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Authority (SAMHSA), along with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and HHS, is presenting a series of free webinars throughout May for Mental Health Awareness Month. The webinars will cover reducing stigma and addressing mental health issues in post-COVID America. To see all of the webinars being offered and to attend one, click here.
By Mollie Laird, Policy Associate