Some Mental Health Providers Hesitant To Make Room In Already Crowded System For Drug Users
As states try to get a handle on the opioid crisis, police are shifting their focus from arresting drug offenders to helping them get treatment. But there are already too many people on waitlists who are outside the criminal justice system, and some mental health providers are worried about what will happen to those patients if they make room for the new ones.
Overburdened Mental Health Providers Thwart Police Push For Drug Treatment
Like much of the rest of the nation, West Virginia has a severe shortage of behavioral health professionals who can help people beat their addictions to drugs and alcohol. And with hundreds of people outside of the criminal justice system on waiting lists for treatment, county mental health officials are hesitant to make room for drug users when not enough beds and treatment services are available for existing clients, according to Jim Johnson, West Virginia’s recently appointed drug czar. (Vestal, 12/14)
In other news on the epidemic —
White House Tamps Down Expectations Of More Opioid Funding This Year
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday told reporters she was unsure when Congress would fund new initiatives specific to addressing the opioid crisis. Sanders declined to guarantee that additional spending would be included in either a stopgap spending bill Congress is expected to approve in the coming week or a longer-term budget agreement many expect lawmakers to reach in January. (Facher, 12/14)
Senator Presses DOJ On Opioid Campaign Criticized For 'Scare Tactics'
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is raising concerns about a campaign in his home state aimed at combating the opioid epidemic and questioning the Department of Justice’s role in it. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent Thursday, Markey asked what the department's role was in “designing, funding or supporting” the campaign in Massachusetts. (Roubein, 12/14)