2017 MHAI Public Policy Agenda

ISSUE: ACCESS TO MEDICATIONS for MENTAL HEALTH and SUBSTANCE ABUSE

STATEMENT:  Access to medications is critical for people with serious mental illness and addiction. Due to research in the last decade, new medications...
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ISSUE: FORENSIC ISSUES

STATEMENT:  Mental health, addictions, as well as individuals with co-occurring developmental disabilities often fall through the cracks in our criminal...
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ISSUE: OPIOID TREATMENT

STATEMENT:  Indiana, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing a public health crisis. Prescription drug abuse has been declared an epidemic...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION FUNDING

STATEMENT: By all accounts, there are many more persons in need of services from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction up to 200% of poverty level,...
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ISSUE: SMOKEFREE AIR AND CIGARETTE TAX

STATEMENT: The incidence of smoking among those with mental illness and addictive disorders far ex-ceeds the rates of the overall population. Secondhand smoke...
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ISSUE: UNDERAGE DRINKING

STATEMENT: More than a quarter of the American population who are too young to drink are doing so anyway according to a new report issued today by the Substance...
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ISSUE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

STATEMENT: Mental Health America believes that all individuals and families should have access to a broad scope of medically appropriate, evidence-based interventions...
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ISSUE: SUICIDE PREVENTION

STATEMENT: Each year in the U.S., thousands of Americans commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth...
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ISSUE: MARRIAGE EQUALITY

STATEMENT: Studies have shown that stigmatization and marginalization that is fostered by legal and so-cial barriers to equality can have mental health...
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ISSUE: PERINATAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE

STATEMENT: While recognizing the potential harmful effects of perinatal exposure to alcohol, opioids, and other drugs including nicotine on the health...
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ISSUE: ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES FOR VETERANS

STATEMENT: Indiana has the fourth largest number of National Guard members in the country. A large number of these individuals, reservists, and other...
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ISSUE: CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

STATEMENT: The statistics describing the health, mental health, and safety issues affecting today's youths are concerning, yet represent a minute image...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

STATEMENT: The mental health and addiction workforce has long been plagued by shortages, high turn-over, and a lack of diversity. There is certainly...
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ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITALS

STATEMENT: Indiana’s commitment to the provision of mental health care is stated in the Constitution. This commitment has historically taken the form...
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ISSUE: DEATH PENALTY and PEOPLE with MENTAL ILLNESS

STATEMENT: The process of determining guilt and imposing sentence is necessarily more complex for individuals with mental illness. A high standard of...
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ISSUE: OPIOID TREATMENT

STATEMENT:  Indiana, along with the rest of the nation, is experiencing a public health crisis. Prescription drug abuse has been declared an epidemic by the CDC and heroin use and overdoses are increasing at unacceptable levels. Individuals with opioid addiction are often unable to obtain detoxification services appropriate to their treatment plan. Some are denied coverage for inpatient detoxification services due to a medical necessity provision requiring a life-threatening situation, which opioid addiction rarely is. Outpatient detox is not always an appropriate option for all patients, as inpatient might be required for a successful outcome with Medication Assisted Treatment, severe comorbidities and/or mental illnesses, multiple failed attempts at out-of-home detox and/or homelessness.

In the years since the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released its first report on substance abuse among the nation’s prison population, little progress has been made in reducing the number of inmates with substance abuse problems crowding the nation’s prisons and jails. In fact, 65 percent of the nation’s inmates met certain medical criteria for substance abuse and addiction, but only 11 percent received treatment for their addictions (The Nation’s Health Online Publication). Indiana DOC estimates that over 80 percent come with a substance abuse issue.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that of the 2.3 million U.S. inmates, 1.5 million suffer from substance abuse addiction and another 458,000 inmates either had histories of substance abuse, were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time of committing their crimes; committed their offenses to get money to buy drugs; or were incarcerated for an alcohol or drug violation. Combined, the two groups make up 85 percent of the U.S. prison population, according to the report, “Behind Bars II, Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population.” The report also found that alcohol and other drugs are significant factors in all crimes, including 78 percent of violent crimes, 83 percent of property crimes and 77 percent of public order, immigration or weapons offens-es as well as probation and parole violations. Many individuals released from prison are prime candidates for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

MHAI supports access to comprehensive opioid addiction treatment programs which in-clude access to counseling, detoxification, and medication assisted treatment (MAT) agents to provide comprehensive opioid addiction treatment plans for successful recovery outcomes. This treatment must be accessible in community-based treatment, child welfare, DOC, jails as well as probation and diversion. Opioid Treatment Centers must be integrat-ed into the healthcare delivery system including use of assessments, treatment plans focused on abstinence if appropriate with periodic review, therapy, all available MATs based on clinical need and informed consent, and required acceptance of Medicaid/HIP and insur-ance for services provided. MHAI will also support access to abuse deterrent formulations of opioid medications as a means to mitigate the initial abuse.

PRIORITY LEVEL: I

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The Third House, LLC

The Third House, a full service government affairs firm, represents Mental Health America of Indiana at the Indiana General Assembly where Stephen C. McCaffrey serves as Principal.

The Third House specializes in health policy, assisting patients, providers, professionals, not-for-profits and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate with other stakeholders to improve access to healthcare in public health and criminal justice settings. The Third House attempts to collectively mobilize The Third House clients to ensure that all patients have access to appropriate treatment options in a manner that is patient-focused and transparent.

The Third House provides services to MHAI that include legislative and regulatory monitoring, issue management, research, and legislative and administrative lobbying.  All The Third House clients receiving lobbying services are registered with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission at: https://www.in.gov/ilrc/.

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