This week, the House Education and Labor Committee voted 33 to 9 in support of H.R. 1424, The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007. The bill, introduced by Congressmen Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN), has bipartisan support of the majority of House Members with 268 cosponsors. The bill would help improve the overall health of all Americans by granting greater access to mental health and addiction treatment and prohibiting health insurers from placing discriminatory restrictions on treatment.
The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is requesting public comment on proposed new hospital performance measures requiring screening, brief intervention, referral or treatment (SBIRT) for patients who show excessive alcohol use, use of illicit drugs, misuse of prescription drugs, or tobacco use.
For years, methadone has been used to help curb heroin addiction but in recent years some communities have seen an increase in methadone abuse and overdoses. In Reno, Nev. the recent death of a 15-year-old high school student from a methadone overdose sparked concern among local residents, and now the Join Together Northern Nevada (JTNN) coalition has launched a methadone prevention campaign in the hopes of preventing further deaths.
A more than threefold increase in the number of deaths linked to methadone poisoning in recent years has prompted the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch a new initiative to help ensure the safe use of methadone.