Advocacy Alert: November 2021 Legislative News Round Up

December 2, 2021

For those of you who follow us on social media know, we post news stories on a daily basis that are connected to the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry.

Many of these are news stories regarding legislation, so once a month we send out a 'news roundup' of related news stories we've posted. Unless otherwise stated, BHAP has no official stance on any of these stories: the intention is to share so that we're all better informed as to what's happening in the legislative world.

A reminder that BHAP members get access to a monthly call with our advocate in Washington, DC, to find out what is going on and ask any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us for more information on that.


CT | To Address Crisis in Children's Mental Health, Providers Urge Connecticut Legislators to Invest in Community Programs
Shared 11/1/2021
Providers and experts on the front lines of Connecticut's pediatric mental health crisis urged state legislators to increase support for mental health care staff, deepen investments in community-based programs and expand mobile crisis units during a legislative forum.

TX | Behavioral Health Care Center is 'High Priority' for Basin
Shared 11/2/2021
Midland Health CEO Russell Meyers said the $40 million approved by the Texas Legislature will be the first step in making a "comprehensive behavioral health care center for the Permian Basin" a reality.

'Below Deck' Captain Lee Rosbach Calls on Congress to Make Change After Son's Opioid Overdose Death
Shared 11/3/2021
Rosbach has been open about his son Josh's death by drug overdose and how it has impacted his family, and he has vowed to use his platform as a reality TV star to make a difference.

Biden Admin Signals Shift To Harm Reduction
Shared 11/4/2021
Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), has indicated that the war on drugs may be in the midst of a sea change (and so too the Biden administration's drug policy).

CA | Orange County Judge Rules in Favor of Drugmakers in California Opioid Crisis Lawsuit
Shared 11/4/2021
Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson issued a tentative ruling saying the county governments hadn't proved that the pharmaceutical companies used deceptive marketing to increase unnecessary opioid prescriptions and create a public nuisance.

Q&A: Sen. Manka Dhingra on Behavioral Health
Shared 11/5/2021
Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-45th) chairs the Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee, serves as vice chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and sits on the Ways and Means Committee.

LA | Louisiana Attorney General Discusses New Efforts in Fight Against Opioid Epidemic
Shared 11/5/2021
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry spoke at an event Tuesday, Nov. 2 in Bossier City along with Shreveport-Bossier City community leaders about efforts to decrease opioid addiction in Northwest Louisiana.

ND | Results from North Dakota Addressing Addiction Survey Revealed at Recovery Reinvented
Shared 11/6/2021
Dr. Valerie Earnshaw, the study's principal investigator, presented the results to an in-person crowd of about 600 people, with over 1,000 also viewing the event online.

NV | Sisolak Asked to make Mental Health Worker Pay Competitive with 'Other Local Employers'
Shared 11/6/2021
A law that limits the pay of some state government employees to 95% of what the governor earns is challenging Nevada's mental health system to recruit workers, according to a letter to be reviewed and approved to send to Gov. Steve Sisolak by the Governor's Commission on Behavioral Health.

SD | Workforce Shortage Causing Backlog at HSC, Officials tell Mental Health Task Force
Shared 11/12/2021
Legislators met for the mental health services delivery task force's final meeting in Pierre to make recommendations addressing long-standing gaps in South Dakota's behavioral health system.

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Examine Opioid Abuse Among Veterans
Shared 11/13/2021
Representatives Greg Murphy and Joe Courtney co-sponsored the bill that would require the Veterans Affairs administration to conduct a comprehensive review of overdose deaths within the past five years.

NH | New Statewide Mental Health Hotline to Go Online in January
Shared 11/13/2021
Granite Staters in the midst of a mental health crisis will be able to call a single, statewide number to be connected with mental health and addiction care beginning in January.

NY | BestSelf Behavioral Health Lands $3.25 Million in Federal Grants
Shared 11/16/2021
BestSelf Behavioral Health has secured two federal grants totaling $3.25 million that will allow it to bolster opioid addiction treatment services and community mental health training in Western New York over the next five years.

VT | Changes on the Way for Vermont Recovery Network
Shared 11/17/2021
The Vermont Recovery Network says the recent shift of the state taking over some of the support work they do on substance use disorder means they will be able to focus on advocacy and fundraising.

CO | Colorado Health Leaders Ask State Lawmakers to use $150 Million to Address Teen Mental Health Crisis
Shared 11/17/2021
Doctors report higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts in children and teens.

Biden's Overdose Prevention Plan Faces Social, State Barriers
Shared 11/18/2021
Harm reduction, recovery support, evidence-based treatment, and primary prevention are the four tenets of President Joe Biden's government-wide strategy for fighting an addiction crisis that has evaded policymakers since the Obama era.

WA | Behavioral Health Policy to Expect in Washington's 2022 Legislative Session
Shared 11/19/2021
Addressing problems facing the behavioral health workforce will be a top priority for the Washington State legislature when it convenes in January.

MA | Massachusetts Senate Approves Sweeping Mental Health Bill
Shared 11/19/2021
The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill that would guarantee Massachusetts residents are eligible for annual mental health wellness exams at no cost — akin to annual physical exams.

OR | Lawmakers In Salem Consider Behavioral Health System's Needs
Shared 11/20/2021
In the big picture, a deep needs persist in the state's behavioral health care landscape, both at the hospital and for other providers.

PR | Governor Hochul Announces Partnership with Puerto Rico to Boost Mental Health Services
Shared 11/20/2021
The partnership will establish a network of disaster mental health professionals across New York and Puerto Rico through a collaborative training project.

PA | Pennsylvania Department of Health: Mental Health Resources Available Online for Students
Shared 11/22/2021
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, student suicide rates have spiked -- likely due to massive lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic.

Harris Announces $1.5B to Fight Shortage of Doctors in Underserved Communities
Shared 11/23/2021
The investment is designed to address the shortage of doctors, nurses, and behavioral health providers in minority communities, rural areas and other underserved communities by providing additional funding for programs that address health workforce shortages.

AZ | Grant helps Phoenix Clinic Expand Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment for the Underserved
Shared 11/23/2021
A west Phoenix clinic is expanding treatment for mental health and substance use disorder for underserved individuals and veterans after securing a $4 million federal grant.

VA | Advocates Gather to Discuss Importance of Raising Awareness about Dangers of Addiction
Shared 11/24/2021
A Henrico-based treatment and recovery center is teaming up with a film production company to help change the stigma associated with addiction and inspire communities to reach out to those struggling with drug and alcohol dependency.

Biden Signs Order Addressing Safety of Native Americans, includes LGBTQ+
Shared 11/25/2021
"We have to continue to stand up for the dignity and the sovereignty of tribal nations," the president said.

A Court Rejected the Disease Theory of Opioid Addiction. Will We Listen?
Shared 11/26/2021
The idea that opioid painkillers are inevitably addictive was put on trial and refuted.

IN | State's New Parents Bill of Rights puts Focus on Social-Emotional Learning
Shared 11/26/2021
The Indiana Department of Education says studies show SEL can help improve grades and reduce stress for teachers.

RI | Rhode Island First to Legalize Safe Injection Sites
Shared 11/27/2021
Sites will be first in the country to test harm reduction rather than criminalization.

HI | Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Mental Health Clinicians Authorize a Strike
Shared 11/27/2021
After three years of contract negotiations, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and chemical dependency counselors at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has authorized a strike.

Biden Pressed to Step Up Opioid Response
Shared 11/29/2021
In a statement acknowledging the grim milestone, President Joe Biden pledged not to "overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country."

Obit: Paul Bowman, Recovery Advocate and Friend
Shared 11/30/2021
Paul spent his time as an advocate, advisor, member, and volunteer for numerous organizations and research initiatives focused on reducing stigma, treating addiction, and preventing overdose.

Questions? Concerns?

As always, we want your input.

A reminder that BHAP members get regular access to our advocate in Washington, DC. If you have any questions about BHAP's advocacy efforts, please contact us.


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