Wrapping up the legislative interim
It is officially fall and Organization Day at the Statehouse is right around the corner. Interim study committees are wrapping up and presenting their preliminary drafts and recommendations. This year, I had the pleasure of serving as a member of the Commission on Mental Health and Addiction as well as the Health Finance Commission.
I was able to hear very enticing and thought-provoking testimony from experts and constituents alike in both study committees. Hearing their testimony helps the members on the committee make their final recommendations relating to the issues that we are studying. These recommendations will be taken into consideration when it comes to drafting legislation for the 2014 session.
The Commission on Mental Health and Addiction heard from many people ranging from a Lieutenant from the Fort Wayne Police Department to the President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana to the Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
Members of the Commission on Mental Health and Addiction made many recommendations to take preventative measures when it comes to addiction. Among many suggestions we proposed that the medical licensing board adopt rules to establish standards and procedures when methadone is prescribed for pain and added addiction psychiatrists to the list of professionals who may participate in certain mental health services and development programs.
We also recommended that the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, in collaboration with the Department of Health, develop and implement a program for pregnant women who are addicted to drugs. This program would identify the number of pregnant women that have a controlled substance addiction, a means of intervention for the pregnant women before the birth of their child and continued support for these women after the birth of their child. This program would also provide for the availability of treatment and rehab for those women.
With prescription drug abuse taking so many Hoosier lives, the Health Finance Commission made a recommendation to the General Assembly that as soon as the federal government finalizes regulations for our area, the disposal of unused prescription drugs be continue to be considered. Take-back sites are few and far between in certain areas of the state, so we recommend taking any necessary action to create a safe and secure take-back site program.
We also recommend that the Attorney General and various stakeholders continue their work on finalizing language that addresses the issue of Medicaid fraud.
My goal for the upcoming legislative session is to help Indiana become healthier by taking preventative measures to eliminate the misuse or abuse of controlled substances. As a pharmacist, I see the affects first hand, of these misuses and abuses. I want Indiana to rise above these epidemics and make the necessary adjustments to ensure our prescription medications are being used and disposed of in the safest ways.