This month, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee conducted a hearing focusing19 bills, most of them focusing on substance use disorders (SUDs). One of the bills would eliminate the requirement that a patient be addicted for a full year before being admitted to an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) for treatment with methadone.
A concern by Congress is the large amount of federal dollars pouring into the states to combat opioid overdoses. The hearing was held April 5.
State alcohol and drug agencies manage funds from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant housed at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SOR seeks to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to treatment and reducing opioid overdose deaths through prevention, treatment and recovery activities. These funds supplement existing opioid-related services led by the state alcohol and drug agency. SOR funds may now be expended to address issues related to stimulant use disorders. Georgia received $29,263,842 million in SOR grant funding in fiscal year 2022.
Below are some of the bills considered in the April 5 hearing.
- H.R. 2929, the Virtual Peer Support Act, would provide funding for the assistant secretary for mental health and substance use to award grants for the purpose of supporting virtual peer behavioral health support services.
- H.R. 7073, the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health Act, would reauthorize a grant program for screening, assessment and treatment services for maternal mental health and substance use disorders.
- H.R. 7234, the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act, would reauthorize certain programs with respect to mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
- H.R. 7235, the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant Act of 2022, would make certain improvements with respect to block grants for substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services.
- H.R. 7238, the Timely Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Act of 2022, would direct the secretary of health and human services to revise opioid treatment program admission criteria to eliminate the requirement that patients have been addicted for at least one year prior to being admitted for treatment. This bill is short and sweet: it merely says “The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall revise section 8.12(e)(1) of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), to eliminate the requirement that an opioid treatment program only admit an individual for treatment under the program if the individual has been addicted to opioids for at least 1 year before being so admitted for treatment.
- H.R. 7254, the Mental Health Justice and Parity Act of 2022, would authorize the secretary of health and human services to award grants to states and political subdivisions of states to hire, employ, train and dispatch mental health professionals to respond in lieu of law enforcement officers in emergencies involving one or more persons with a mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability.
For the livestream of the hearing, go to https://energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearing-on-communities-in-need-legislation-to-support-mental-health-and.