WASHINGTON, D.C., February 27, 2020 – National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia today issued this statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to transfer $4.9 million from substance abuse and mental health programs to fund its coronavirus response:
“The quickest way to interrupt progress in the fight against the opioid epidemic is to take funding away from the programs intended to help those with a substance use disorder.
“Transferring these funds will harm those who rely on the substance use treatment and substance use prevention programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and complicate national efforts to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic. While the amount of money in question may seem small, people will suffer because SAMHSA plays a vital role in the fight against the opioid epidemic and in efforts to address our mental health crises.
“The administration’s decision is ironic in light of its 2017 declaration that the opioid epidemic represents a public health emergency.
“We urge the administration to find a new source of funding to help the nation’s response to the spread of coronavirus. Just because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the authority to transfer SAMHSA funds at the president’s request does not mean it should.
“A transfer of SAMHSA funds also sets a precedent, and it’s not difficult to imagine the administration misappropriating SAMHSA funds again.”
Media contact: Sophia Majlessi, email@example.com, 202-621-1631
About the National Council for Behavioral Health
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2 million Americans have been trained.