Understanding The New Mental Health Bill Passed By Senate


Before President Barack Obama transitions out of office in January of 2017, he has a few laws to sign into place during his “sitting duck” interim. One such law will be the bill just approved by the senate regarding mental health. In 2016, various levels of government tried to pass large budgets and bills for mental health, many of them losing steam or not turning out with full promise. This bill however, finally pulled it together. $1 billion dollars in grants will be made available for treatment of opioid and heroin addiction. The bill also improves the opportunity for those in need to receive medically assisted treatment, often referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment. The bill was for Connecticut and other states. As the Obama administration comes to a close, local governments are trying to get bills passed and signed into law for mental health.

Special Report

Recently, the US Surgeon General released his special report, this year’s unprecedented topic being on addiction. The report, titled Facing Addiction In America, estimated that almost 80 people die per day of alcoholism and 129 people die per day due to opioid overdose. Calling on the government to create better intervention methods, the Surgeon General encouraged the development of harm reduction and prevention practices. Such practices are controversial as they encourage the continued use of substances. For example, needle exchanges where intravenous drug addicts can find clean needles; safe use clinics, where users can use drugs intravenously while under the supervision of a nurse in the case of overdose; and medically assisted treatment using prescription medications known as opioid blockers, like suboxone.

Other Important Legislature About Mental Health

Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts worked closely with the surgeon general on the special report after he drafted the Mental Health Parity and Equality act which was passed into law. The parity act made it the mission of the government to ensure that insurance companies treat mental health with the same urgency it treats medical health. Additionally, the CARA Act- the comprehensive addiction and recovery act- passed, urging more funding for addiction treatment.

Avalon By The Sea strives to provide the highest quality of care to men and women seeking recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders. Our certified dual diagnosis treatment center welcomes those in need of primary care for both conditions. For more information and a confidential assessment, call 1 888-958-7511.

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