Advocacy Alert: December 2020 Legislative News Round Up

January 4, 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.


ND | North Central Courts Update North Dakota Lawmakers Ahead of the Session
Shared 12/2/2020
The North Central justices spent time discussing issues with behavioral health care in the district.

Lawmakers Call for COVID Relief Bill to Help Ease Opioid Epidemic Burden
Shared 12/3/2020
Some lawmakers are alarmed that the opioid crisis is worsening during the pandemic.

NC | Governor Cooper Appoints Members to Health Care Councils
Shared 12/4/2020
Governor Roy Cooper recently announced appointments to several health care boards and commissions across the state.

How the 2020 Election Reshaped US Drug Policy
Shared 12/5/2020
While November’s election revealed a divided country, American voters agreed on one issue: the need to reform the nation’s drug policies. In every state where a measure to loosen restrictions on drugs was on the ballot, it won.

U.N. Commission Removes Cannabis From Its Most Strict Drug Control List
Shared 12/6/2020
The U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to reclassify cannabis, taking it off the strict Schedule IV list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as heroin.

VA | Lawmakers Look to Restructure Virginia’s Struggling Mental Health System
Shared 12/8/2020
Two main obstacles are in the way: a lack of vision and money.

Sober Living, Addiction Treatment Conflicts Return to Lawmakers’ Crosshairs
Shared 12/9/2020
But activists are frustrated with federal proposal for more studies instead of action.

PA | State Leaders to Discuss Pandemic’s Impact on Opioid Crisis, Resources
Shared 12/9/2020
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the state called the opioid epidemic the worst public health crisis in Pennsylvania, and the nation, in almost a generation. Even with COVID, opioid use and overdoses remain a focus of several state departments.

Federal Drug-Testing Program Unchanged Despite New State Marijuana Laws
Shared 12/12/2020
Although some state drug laws recently have been revised to legalize marijuana, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is reminding officials that the federal government’s Drug-Free Workplace Program has not changed.

OK | Oklahoma Asks Court: Make J&J Pay $9.3B to End Opioid Crisis
Shared 12/12/2020
Oklahoma has asked the state Supreme Court to order Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $9.3 billion to cover the entire anticipated cost of combatting the state’s opioid crisis, arguing in its appeal that a lower court’s award wasn’t enough.

KY | New Legislation Seeks to Create “Recovery Ready” Communities
Shared 12/13/2020
Kentucky’s addiction crisis is too substantial and far-reaching for any single legislator, organization, or government agency to tackle alone.

Patrick Kennedy Pitches Himself for Biden ‘Drug Czar’
Shared 12/14/2020
Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman and mental health care advocate, has launched a public push to serve as the incoming Biden administration’s “drug czar.”

MN | Minnesota Senators Secure $1.3 Million in Funding to Fight Opioid Crisis
Shared 12/14/2020
Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith said the US Department of Labor awarded the state the National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant.

US Lawmakers Look to Fight Off the Coronavirus Pandemic’s Negative Effects on the Opioid Epidemic
Shared 12/16/2020
The latest COVID-19 relief framework would secure $5 billion for opioid treatment.

AMA Calls for Better Patient Access to Care, SUD Treatment
Shared 12/20/2020
AMA, in partnership with Manatt Health, outlined five key steps that state leaders can take to improve patient access to care for substance use disorder.

RI | Rhode Island Creates $10-Million Program to Aid Providers to the Developmentally Disabled Community
Shared 12/24/2020
The state agreed this week to dedicate $10 million in CARES Act money to help carry providers for the intellectually and developmentally disabled community through the next half of 2021, and, hopefully, the end of the pandemic.

Justice Department Sues Walmart, Alleging Role in Opioid Crisis
Shared 12/25/2020
The Trump administration sued Walmart, accusing its pharmacies of not properly screening questionable painkiller prescriptions and filling them, ultimately fueling nationwide addiction.

KS | Kelly Wants to Transform Part of Kansas’ Largest Prison for Substance Abuse Treatment
Shared 12/25/2020
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly wants to transform part of the state’s largest prison into a treatment center for inmates with substance abuse problems.

AK | Dunleavy Splits Alaska Department of Health and Social Services into Two New Agencies
Shared 12/26/2020
Governor Dunleavy and Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said the department is too big, too unwieldy and needs a sharpened focus to better serve Alaskans.

NC | North Carolina Didn’t Track Data on Mental Health Commitments, so Advocates Did
Shared 12/31/2020
Advocates found the state had a big problem, but because no one was counting, no one was aware of how many psychiatric patients were being treated against their will.

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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