National Council for Behavioral Health

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March 19, 2018

Joy Burwell
(202) 748-8789

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To date there has been a lot of rhetoric from the President on how to address it, today however he officially released the President’s Initiative to Stop Opioids Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand which outlines a call to action.

The National Council for Behavioral Health welcomes this call to action from the White House. The plan contains some important steps that will increase access to effective, evidence-based treatment, particularly Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction. We fully support modifying the IMD exclusion to pay for needed short-term residential treatment and the proposal to expand identification and treatment for those involved with the criminal justice system. However, these are just first steps, more needs to be done to increase community treatment capacity and recovery supports.

Although grants are a great mechanism to spur innovation, we need continued, long-term funding that treats addiction like any other chronic illness. To do this we need to increase the number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that provide comprehensive addiction and mental health care and we need to enforce the federal parity law.

The opioid epidemic has already claimed far too many lives and devastated countless communities. Resolving it requires a sustained commitment from all stakeholders, a massive expansion of addiction treatment capacity and recovery supports as well as increased federal resources. The President’s plan takes several steps in the right direction. The National Council stands ready to help the Administration and Congress to complete these steps and take the additional steps required to finally end the epidemic.

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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 2,900 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 more than 1 million Americans have been trained.