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Latta Leads Legislation to Improve Access to Mental Health Services and Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Bowling Green, OH, February 11, 2021 | Rebecca Angelson (202.225.6405)

Today, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) re-introduced the Creating Resources to Improve Situations of Inherent Severity (CRISIS) Act and the Debarment Enforcement of Bad Actor Registrants (DEBAR) Act. Latta introduced both bills in the previous Congress.

“Suicide, mental illness, and opioid overdoses are on the rise as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Latta. “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.”

“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,” continued Latta. “The DEBAR Act prohibits bad actors from registering for a controlled substance to help stop the illegal flow of opioids across our country.”  

The Creating Resources to Improve Situations of Inherent Severity (CRISIS) Act: 

Currently, emergency departments do not have the capacity, with existing resources and health care professional shortages, to address the needs of the rapidly growing number of individuals who are struggling with behavioral health conditions. People who live with mental illness need additional health facilities to receive crisis care, to prevent avoidable interaction with the criminal justice system, and to lessen the high volume of patients in emergency rooms where possible.

The CRISIS Act would direct states to utilize funds from the Mental Health Block Grant for crisis care services and improve care to an individual experiencing a psychiatric episode. The bill encourages every state to provide crisis care services to a person experiencing a psychiatric episode. Crisis care services include the following:

  • Crisis Call Centers – Call centers that coordinate and connect people experiencing a mental health crisis and their families to behavioral health services in real time.
  • Mobile Crisis Services – 24/7 mobile crisis services offering outreach, support, and referrals to appropriate care when and where people are in crisis.
  • Crisis Stabilization Programs – Stabilization programs offering acute or sub-acute care in a hospital or facility for individuals who need observation.

The Debarment Enforcement of Bad Actor Registrants (DEBAR) Act: 

Currently, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) registrants who have had their registration revoked are able to reapply immediately for a new license. While most of the time these registrants have their new licenses rejected, a recent DEA Inspector General report found that there had been cases where entities have been able to obtain a new license immediately after having one revoked.

The DEBAR Act amends the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) to give the DEA debarment authority to permanently prohibit a person or entity that has violated the CSA from being able to receive a registration to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance. It would also allow the Attorney General to issue an order to prohibit, conditionally or unconditionally, and permanently or for such period as the Attorney General may determine.  


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