Only smaller facilities qualify for Medicaid payments under a 1965 law that was intended to break up large, state-run mental asylums, but state attorneys general are asking Congress, in the midst of a crisis, to expand that. In other news, the National Institutes of Health, noting a lack of evidence on the issue, will begin to study opioids’ effects on babies.
The Associated Press:
State Attorneys General Seek More Beds For Drug Treatment
A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general on Monday called on Congress to allow Medicaid funding to flow to larger drug treatment centers, potentially expanding the number of addicts who can get help as the nation grapples with an overdose crisis. The government lawyers for 38 states and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to congressional leaders requesting the change. They say it’s needed to help fight the opioid abuse and overdose epidemic, which continues to claim tens of thousands of lives a year. (Mulvihill, 10/2)
NIH To Study Babies Affected By Opioids
The National Institutes of Health is funding a new study on babies born with opioid withdrawal syndrome, a side effect of the nation’s epidemic of prescription painkillers and heroin. The number of newborns with this syndrome has increased in recent years, yet there’s a lack of standard, evidence-based treatments for providers, according to an NIH press release announcing the new study on Monday. (Roubein, 10/2)
In other news from the states —
The Wall Street Journal:
New Jersey Cracks Down On Drug Dealers For Opioid Deaths
Less than four months after New Jersey resident MaryAnn McKinnon died of an overdose, police arrested the man accused of selling the opioids that killed her. Cleveland Spencer, 26, of Paterson, N.J., was charged in late September with four drug offenses, the most serious of which was a felony alleging he sold the drugs that resulted in Ms. McKinnon’s death. (King, 10/2)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
MetroHealth Receives $1.9M Grant To Increase Naloxone Distribution By Law Enforcement
With the help of a new $1.9 million federal grant, the MetroHealth System aims to ensure that at least 95 percent of law enforcement agencies across Cuyahoga County carry and distribute the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone by January of 2019. (Zeltner, 10/2)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.