Rep. Latta reintroduces mental health services, opioid epidemic legislation

Rep. Latta reintroduces mental health services, opioid epidemic legislation

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) legislation aimed at improving access to mental health services and to combat the opioid epidemic Thursday.

The bills, the “Creating Resources to Improve Situations of Inherent Severity (CRISIS) Act, and the “Debarment Enforcement of Bad Actor Registrants (DEBAR) Act, were both previously introduced to the 116th Congress.

“Suicide, mental illness, and opioid overdoses are on the rise as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Latta said. “Currently, there aren’t programs for states to turn to that will help them implement comprehensive crisis services. Use of crisis facilities and interventions have already saved hospital emergency departments an estimated $37 million in avoided costs. The CRISIS Act helps ameliorate this problem. My bill would provide much-needed resources to improve access to mental health services for people who need them. The social repercussions of COVID-19 have caused significant stress and anxiety in our communities, and we must do what we can to provide assistance to our constituents.”

The CRISIS Act would direct states to use funds from the Mental Health Block Grant for crisis care services and improve care to individuals experiencing a psychiatric episode. The bill encourages all states to provide crisis care services, including Crisis Call Centers, Mobile Crisis Services, and Crisis Stabilization programs.

The DEBAR Act would amend the current Controlled Substance Act to allow the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to permanently prohibit a person or entity that has violated the CSA from getting a registration to manufacture, distribute or dispense a controlled substance. Currently, registrants who have had their registration revoked can immediately apply for a new license. While most are rejected, a recent Inspector General’s report found that there have been occasions where “bad actors” whose licenses have been revoked could get a new license almost immediately.

“As we are working to stop the opioid epidemic and continue our efforts to help the people most impacted by this crisis, there is more to be done to ensure people who shouldn’t be able to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance are not doing so,” Latta said. “The DEBAR Act prohibits bad actors from registering for a controlled substance to help stop the illegal flow of opioids across our country.”