February 19, 2021
Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Nearly $30 Million in Federal Funding for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Centers Across New York State

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced $29,949,721 in funding for mental health and addiction treatment centers throughout New York State under the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) expansion grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The funding was allocated through last year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act and will provide necessary resources for CCBHCs to transform communities by providing 24/7 crisis response, reducing hospital and emergency department visits, increasing addiction treatment participation, and raising the bar for quality care. Read more here.

Governor Cuomo Announces 30-Day Amendments to Legislation Establishing Comprehensive Adult-Use Cannabis Program in New York

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week announced 30-day amendments to the Governor's proposal to establish a comprehensive adult-use cannabis program in New York. Specifically, these amendments will detail how the $100 Million in Social Equity funding will be allocated, enable the use of delivery services, and refine which criminal charges will be enforced as it relates to the improper sale of cannabis to further reduce the impact on communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.

"As we work to reimagine, rebuild and reopen New York, we're taking every opportunity to address and correct decades of institutional wrongs to build back better than ever before," Governor Cuomo said. "We know that you cannot overcome a problem without first admitting there is one. Our comprehensive approach to legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also enables us to directly support the communities most impacted by the war on drugs by creating equity and jobs at every level, in every community in our great state." Read more here.
A Webinar Series Focused On Addressing Mental Health Crises With Comprehensive Community Responses

In NAMI’s Ask the Expert Help Not Handcuffs Webinar Series, NAMI welcomes experts from across the country to present, discuss and explore strategies for diverting people with mental illness away from the justice system and toward the care that they need. This multi-part series will address the history of mental health and the justice system, past and present legislative efforts, several existing jail diversion models, and what we can expect and strive for through programs like these in the future.

As part of NAMI’s mission to engage in advocacy, education, support and public awareness in pursuit of better outcomes for those affected by mental illness, this series aims to provide a comprehensive overview from past to present and beyond of how we’ve arrived at this current moment in mental health and justice.
The series, moderated by NAMI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Duckworth, will include perspectives and insights from clinicians, peers, law enforcement professionals and more.

Click here to view a complete schedule of topics and dates for this series.

February 22, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

February 24, 10 - 11 am, OMH

February 24, 12 - 1 pm, CCSI

February 24, 12 - 1:30 pm, MHTTC

February 24, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

February 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

February 25, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

February 25, 1 - 2:30 pm, Network for Public Health Law

February 25, 2 - 3 pm, COSSAP

February 25, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

February 26, 12 - 1 pm, MHTTC

March 2, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

March 2, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

March 2, 2 - 3:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 3, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA, NASMHPD

March 10, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

March 10, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

March 18, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

March 24, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

March 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

March 30, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

March 31, 2 - 3 pm, OMH


Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
February 23: 1 - 3 pm, GTM


Agency Day - OMH
March 2: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Agency Day - OASAS
March 3: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Agency Day - OPWDD
March 4: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

Mental Health Committee Meeting
March 4: 3 - 4 pm, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
March 9: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
March 11: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
March 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
As the Pandemic Ushered in Isolation and Financial Hardship, Overdose Deaths Reached New Heights

Among the unrelenting death statistics flowing from the CDC last month, one grim non-Covid-19 statistic stood out: 81,003 deaths. That’s the number of people who died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending last June: a 20% increase and the highest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in the U.S. in a single year.

The drug deaths started spiking last spring, as the coronavirus forced shutdowns, and more recent statistics from cities throughout the U.S. and Canada show the crisis has only deepened.

In Colorado, overdose deaths were up 20% through the end of last year, and those involving fentanyl doubled; British Columbia officials reported nearly five overdose deaths per day in 2020, a 74% increase over the previous year; and a study released this month showed emergency room overdose visits increased up to 45% during the pandemic, even as total ER traffic slowed markedly. Read more here.
Opioid Deaths Spark Push to Ease Buprenorphine Rules

With drug overdose deaths soaring during the pandemic to the highest levels ever recorded, a growing chorus of medical experts is calling on the federal government to deregulate the addiction treatment medication buprenorphine.

They argue that a requirement that doctors take an 8-hour course and submit to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) oversight has stymied the drug’s availability.

But opioid addiction treatment providers and a major patient group argue that, in fact, more training is needed to protect patients. Some also worry that looser rules will result in the pills being resold illegally.

The Biden administration and Congress are set to decide whether revoking provisions in the two-decade-old federal narcotics law that require the training is worth the potential harm of pills becoming more readily available. Read more here.

Responding To COVID-19: Supporting People in Recovery From Opioid Use Disorder

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began, the
Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) began tracking disruptions in care for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) and identifying steps that federal and state policy makers, insurers, and health system leaders could take to maintain access to OUD treatment.

Ensuring access to recovery services, which provide social connections and other supports to help people rebuild their lives, is also critical. The suspension of in-person meetings and other recovery services, as well as the economic hardships of the pandemic, have exacted tolls on those in active recovery from OUD and other substance use disorders (SUDs). To address this challenge, FORE issued a national request for proposals (RFP) from organizations working to provide safe and meaningful recovery support services during the pandemic. Read more here.

New Interventions To Address Substance Use Disorder Must Take Financial Sustainability Into Account

Substance use disorders are a major health challenge facing the US, with 76,000 drug overdose deaths in the year ending April 2020, an increase of 56percent from 2015. Opioids are blamed for a majority of those deaths. The coronavirus pandemic is compounding the epidemic, with more than 40 states reporting an increase in overdose mortality since the onset of the public health emergency. In the case of opioids, federal and state governments have stepped up efforts to address the epidemic by discouraging risky opioid prescribing and expanding access to treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and harm reduction services.

In addition, governments and foundations have expanded their funding of research aimed at devising and testing new interventions to address the opioid epidemic. This research funding typically takes the form of time-limited grants to test the new interventions, after which communities, clinicians, and others must find resources to replace the grant funding. Read more here.
As Addiction Deaths Surge, Profit-Driven Rehab Industry Faces 'Severe Ethical Crisis'

As the nation's addiction crisis deepened, Tamara Beetham, who studies health policy at Yale University, set out to answer a simple question: What happens when people try to get help?

Her first step was to create a kind of undercover identity — a 26-year-old, using heroin daily. Using this fictional persona, her research team called more than 600 residential treatment centers all over the country.

"We'd kind of call and say, I'm looking to, you know, start treatment and kind of go from there," Beetham said.

For people suffering addiction, this can be a life-or-death moment. Studies show that getting high-quality medical care can make a huge difference, leading to long-term recovery and a healthier life. So what Beetham's team found was troubling. Read more here.

New SAMHSA National African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Launched

As the past year has demonstrated, many factors can affect human health and access to effective health services. This is no less true for behavioral health—mental health and substance-related conditions. Now a new source of training and information is available to help professionals and communities address health disparities and support the equity, effectiveness, and appropriateness of behavioral health services for African Americans.

On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (DHHS, SAMHSA) established the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (AABH-COE). The new Center of Excellence is a project of Morehouse School of Medicine, one of only four medical schools among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

According to Principal Investigator Dawn Tyus, PhD, LPC, MAC, the new Center’s charge is to create and provide training, written resources, and technical assistance to service providers in behavioral health and allied fields. There will also be information and tools for community partners, families, peer supporters, and individuals living with behavioral health challenges. Read more here.
States Make Progress with Telehealth Reimbursement Laws

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant increase in state telehealth reimbursement laws, but more progress can still be made to address the biggest barrier to telehealth adoption, lawyers at Foley & Lardner LLP say in a new report.

Currently, more than 43 states and the District of Columbia have some state telehealth statute for commercial payers. These laws have resulted in more coverage for telehealth services compared to previous years, but the same cannot be said for telehealth reimbursement law, the report stated.

Only 22 maintain laws that address telehealth reimbursement and 14 offer true “payment parity” for the services, the report found. Those numbers are only up slightly from 16 and 10 states, respectively, in 2019. Read more here.
People With Intellectual Disabilities Are Often Overlooked In Pandemic Response

Peter Prater's family wasn't thinking about COVID-19 when the call came that he had been taken to the hospital with a fever.

It was April, and the Tallahassee Developmental Center, where Prater lives, hadn't yet had any COVID-19 diagnoses. Prater, 55, who has Down syndrome and diabetes, became the Florida center's first known case, his family said. Within two weeks, more than half of the roughly 60 residents and a third of the staff had tested positive for the virus, according to local news reports.

"We thought we were going to lose him," says Jim DeBeaugrine, Prater's brother-in-law, who also works as an advocate for people with disabilities. "We weren't aware of a correlation to Down syndrome and bad outcomes with COVID yet. He's just a frail person, period."

Prater survived after roughly seven weeks in the hospital. But five others from the center — three residents and two staffers — died. Read more here.
The Psychological Help New York's Kids Need Right Now
Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

More than 4,000 children in New York have lost their parent or caregiver to COVID-19, and 325,000 children are newly living in or near poverty. Many don’t know where their next meal will come from, or how they’ll make it through the school year, or if their family will lose their home. They are experiencing profound trauma taking a toll on their mental health.

The pandemic has worsened an already dire situation for child and adolescent behavioral health. Even prior to the pandemic, suicide was the second leading cause of death for New York children ages 15-19, and the third leading cause of death for children 5-14.
Statewide surveys show an increase in anxiety and depression among young people, and a growing number of young people are coming to hospitals with dangerous psychiatric emergencies. A disproportionate number of these children come from communities of color — the same communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Read more here.
The Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors advances public policies and awareness for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities. We are a statewide membership organization that consists of the Commissioner/ Director of each of the state's 57 county mental hygiene departments and the mental hygiene department of the City of New York.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)