Brindisi Leads Forum on Mental Health and Addiction Issues
WASHINGTON – Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., served as moderator last week at a Blue Dog Coalition forum exploring the issue of mental health and addiction in the U.S. and how to deal with it.
Brindisi, the coalition’s co-chair, has been an advocate for better access to mental health care in rural communities since his election in 2018.
Joining Brindisi in the video presentation was Keith Leahey, of the Mental Health Association; Dr. Shawn Ryan, of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; Cassandra Sheets, of the Center For Family Life and Recovery; and Dr. Liza Tupa, of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Behavioral Health Program.
“Between 1999 and 2015, overdose deaths increased 325% in rural counties,” Brindisi said. “In 2015, they surpassed the death rate in urban areas. And according to the CDC over 70,000 people died from drug overdose in 2018 alone.”
“Those are staggering, heartbreaking numbers,” he continued. “And each person lost is so much more than a statistic. They are a family member, a colleague, a caregiver and a friend. And compounding the issue, many of these rural communities are the ones that have the least capacity to provide care.”
Brindisi recently sponsored The Fentanyl Sanctions Act to help prevent the import of the illicit drug from China.
During the forum, Dr. Ryan said drug abuse has been exacerbated across the country by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve seen a significant worsening in addiction and opioid overdose related to the crisis,” Ryan said. “These challenges in rural areas still exist. Several of the issues that were already challenges in rural areas have in fact been compounded by COVID.”
Brindisi closed the forum by saying the lack of access to mental health care for rural communities is a life or death issue.
“There is an urgent need to expand access to care in Upstate New York,” Brindisi said.
“Discussions like today’s help us raise awareness and will impel more policy makers to take substantive action to connect struggling rural Americans with support when they need it most.”
In The News
WASHINGTON - Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., served as moderator last week at a Blue Dog Coalition forum exploring the issue of mental health and addiction in the U.S. and how to deal with it. Brindisi, the coalition's co-chair, has been an advocate for better access to... Read More
Telehealth services have made substantial progress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic despite the hardships the health care industry as a whole has had to endure. The concept of telehealthcare is now more widely accepted than ever before. In August, a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced their support... Read More
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched pretty much every person in America — and it shows in the state of our mental health. The prevalence of sleep troubles, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness and other depression symptoms in adults across the country has more than tripled since the... Read More
WASHINGTON — The pharmaceutical industry’s leading lobby group said Tuesday it did not know of a meeting at the White House to discuss lowering prescription drug prices, after President Donald Trump said executives were coming in this week to negotiate. “We are not aware of any... Read More
WASHINGTON - Even as students across the United States are beginning to head back to class, the reopening of schools remains a topic of intense debate. While no one can predict what is ahead for the Fall of 2020, there can be no doubt that COVID-19... Read More
WASHINGTON - For weeks it had been the stuff of living room banter and fodder for self-quarantining late night comedians. Suddenly, apparently on a whim, the president who once described himself as a "very stable genius," was talking about how he "aced" a mental fitness test.... Read More