Home group unveils bipartisan mental health and addiction legislative plan

A bipartisan group of 144 House lawmakers plan to unveil their agenda on Wednesday to expand access to mental health care and tackle the growing drug epidemic after overdose deaths hit new highs, CQ Roll has learned. Call first exclusively.

The group plans to announce its agenda of 66 bills and a resolution at a press conference at noon on Wednesday. The 48-page bipartisan blueprint outlining the group’s legislative goals includes 12 policy sub-categories including prevention, treatment, rural and underserved communities, workforce development, first responders, l ban, children and families, veterans, prescription, education, access to health care and health parity.

The release of the agenda comes after progress in tackling the drug epidemic halted during the pandemic.

More than 95,000 people died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending February 2021, the highest on record in a year, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A separate study released last week by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that methamphetamine-related overdose deaths nearly tripled from 2015 to 2019.

It also comes as the pandemic has highlighted a number of health disparities in various communities. A National Institutes of Health-funded study published this month showed a 38% increase in opioid overdose deaths among non-Hispanic black people in four states from 2018 to 2019. The New York Death Study , Massachusetts, Kentucky and Ohio saw opioid overdose deaths for other racial and ethnic groups remain stable or decline during this time.

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