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: 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 Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  Although there has been progress in reducing the extent of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those aged 17 and younger, the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high.  Not only did 26.6 percent of 12-20 year-olds report drinking in the month before they were surveyed, 8.7 percent of them purchased their own alcohol the last time they drank. The study used combined data from SAMHSA’s 2008 to 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

ALCOHOL TAX

Reallocating or raising the alcohol tax is a new way to provide funding for mental health and addition treatment. Additionally, research shows that an increase in al-cohol taxes or the cost of alcoholic beverages causes a decrease in underage con-sumption and adult high risk drinking. Increased taxes also lead to a decrease in al-cohol-related traffic crashes, violent crimes and cases of liver cirrhosis.

Alcohol taxes have not been raised in Indiana since 1981. Adjusting for inflation, the average Indiana beer tax in 2000 was one-third of the beer tax in 1968. The more the price is increased, the greater the impact on underage drinking. Indiana is losing millions of dollars in revenue each year that the tax remains the same, result-ing in inadequate funding for the enforcement of alcohol laws and the prevention and treatment of alcohol 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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