What is the TAADAS Day on the Hill?
Our annual state advocacy day, named Day on the Hill, begins with a legislative breakfast at the Cordell Hull building that provides opportunities for addiction advocates to meet with state legislators and tell them about issues important to them and the communities they serve. Breakfast is followed by a day of legislative visits, committee hearings, and opportunities to engage with state policy makers about issues affecting treatment and recovery in Tennessee.
When is the Next Day on the Hill?
The event is usually held in February. We have not yet determined the 2021 event date and time.
Why Should I Participate?
Legislators and policymakers listen to and rely on their constituents to share their knowledge and experiences. Who better than you to educate your Senators and Representatives about the issues that affect your life?
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA or Parity Law) promised equity in the insurance coverage of mental health and substance use disorder care, but years later mental health parity is still not a reality and too many Americans continue to be denied care when they need it the most. To fulfill the promise of the Parity law, we must hold health insurance plans accountable to comply with the letter and spirit of the law. The link below will take you to the Department of Commerce and Insurance website to file a parity complaint.
TAADAS Announces 2020 Legislative and Advocacy Priorities
Over the last several years, TAADAS has made a concerted effort to increase our advocacy work. After assessing the Tennessee and national political landscape and reviewing results from our membership survey, we have chosen to focus on five public policy issues for 2020. Here are the legislative and regulatory priorities TAADAS will pursue:
• Fund Adult Residential Treatment -- Even with combined state and federal funding for services for the uninsured, there continues to be a gap of 17,000 uninsured people who need access to treatment in Tennessee this year.
• Enforce Parity -- Parity laws ensure that insurance companies offer behavioral health benefits with the same scope as they have for physical health. These new laws in Tennessee require a report to the legiature in January 2020. TAADAS will monitor the outcome of these reports and advocate for enforcement to close gaps in coverage as well as promoting access to information and training on filing parity complaints.
• Support Prescription Privileges for Nurse Practitioners and Physician's Assistants -- Prescription privileges are key to enable the expansion of life-saving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) throughout the state.
• Expand Access to Quality Recovery Housing -- Addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that requires a lifelong commitment to disease management and access to various kinds of supports during the recovery process. Recovery housing initiatives are expanding in Tennessee and TAADAS will participate in and monitor recovery housing development.
• Expand Services for Pregnant and Post-Partum Women -- Women's treatment capacity is far less than that for men. Additional treatment providers that allow for women/families to remain intact while members are in treatment are needed.
All TAADAS members are invited to attend the monthly Legislative Committee meetings and a standing dinner to follow.
The Legislative Committee meets the Wednesday before each TAADAS Membership Board Meeting at 4:00 PM. Locations will vary, and TAADAS staff will send emails to all committee members proior to the meeting to confirm the location and agenda. Watch this page and your inbox for more details on upcoming meetings!
When: The Wednesday preceeding the board meeting at 4:00 pm.
Where: Locations vary, committee members should check their email for that information.
Research group, The Sycamore Institute, recently released two updates on the opioid crisis in Tennessee with important information for parties interested in addiction. The first resources is a compilation of new policy updates from 2018 that relate to fighting opioid addiction. The second is an update on indicators of progress, detailing the impact of efforts to curb the opioid epedemic so far. Follow the links below to access these resrouces:
To help address the nationwide addiction crisis and strengthen the road to recovery, states need to invest in access to quality recovery housing. Evidence shows that recovery housing is instrumental in helping individuals with substance use disorders achieve and sustain a life in recovery. Despite this, recovery homes are often under-resourced and excluded from public sector policies and resources. In response, the National Council for Behavioral Health and National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) issued Building Recovery: State Policy Guide for Supporting Recovery Housing to assist states with the creation of recovery housing certification programs that standardize recovery housing operations to protect and support residents.
Building Recovery provides states the knowledge and guidance to adopt recovery housing standards, incentivize compliance and invest in recovery housing infrastructure. The toolkit also includes sample resources such as a model state law, a legislative matrix of current and proposed recovery housing bills, an action assessment and list of research briefs that are publicly available for review.
During the 2018 Legislative Session, Governor Haslam proposed and passed a legislative package known as TN Together to aid in battling the state’s opioid crisis. The plan was comprised of two pieces of legislation.
The first bill (HB1831/SB2257) limits the duration and dosage of opioid prescriptions for new patients. With initial opioid prescriptions limited to a 3-day supply, Tennessee will have one of the most strict and aggressive opioid policies in the nation. Prescribers may offer patients a three, five, or 10-day prescription with no more than a 10-day supply subject to a dosage cap. The bill includes exceptions for serious ailments, such as major surgeries and chronic conditions. Although the bill amassed wide support, the Tennessee Medical Association expressed concerns about the possible ramifications on medical provider autonomy.
The second bill (HB1832/SB2258) creates incentives for inmates to complete intensive substance use treatment programs while incarcerated and updates the schedule of controlled substances to better detect and penalize unlawful use and distribution of opioids. It also adds synthetic versions of the drug fentanyl, linked to an alarming number of overdose deaths, to the controlled substance schedules. For more on TN Together visit www.tn.gov/opioids.
The opioid crisis is worsening. Over 42,000 Americans died of opioid overdose in 2016, and government and public health officials are scrambling to find effective ways to reverse this frightening trend.
NSC experts conducted an extensive review of current literature, state legislation and data to create a comprehensive report on the status of the opioid crisis. This white paper evaluates each state's progress in fighting this epidemic, based on the number of these six key actions achieved:
The Prescription Nation 2018 report gives you:
As the death toll from opioid overdose increases, addressing the crisis becomes ever more urgent. Only 13 states and District of Columbia have improved their response to the opioid crisis since our 2016 report. Sadly, eight states earned failing grades this time. Is your state doing enough? What can we do to turn the tide of an epidemic that is endangering the future of our country?
The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences. The last chapter of the Report presents a vision for the future, five general messages, their implications for policy and practice, and recommendations for specific stakeholder groups.
Freeman Recovery Center Open House
Freeman Recovery Center in Dickson, Tennessee has a remarkable his-tory and legacy. Built in the early 1900s, the Freeman house is a two-story colonial home (about 4,700 square feet) that housed both the first mayor of Dickson as well as be-ing the childhood home of their cur-rent state representative. The home has been restored to showcase many fine details and to provide a welcoming environment.
The home now houses eight men in the residential program of Freeman Recovery. An Open House was held June 22, 2016 to highlight the renovations of this site as well as a newer site downtown. The second site is located in downtown Dickson and houses an intensive outpatient program as well as administrative offices.
Shawn E. Baker. President and CEO (pictured left) , started the program in 2012 after finding his own recovery from addiction. The program has achieved notional recognition as a Joint Commission accredited pro-gram.
The Dickson County Chamber of Commerce officiated the ribbon cutting ceremony. Participants included many former residents, local prevention coalition members, local Re-covery Court staff and Marie Crosson, Executive Director of the TN Association of Drug Court Profession-als. Mary Linden Salter, Executive Director of TAADAS also participated along with TAADAS staff mem-bers Kathleen Kennedy and Anthony Pugh.
Patriot Place Open House
Buffalo Valley Opened Patriot Place housing for Veteran’s in Clarksville, TN on June 13, 2016 . Debbie Hillin and Jerry Risner of Buffalo Valley were joined by Mayor Kim McMillan, TN Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs Com-missioner Many Bears Grinder, Bob Currie from TDMHSAS, and the City of Clarksville’s Office of Housing & Community Development (see digni-tary photo right) for the opening. Patriot Place is an affordable housing program available to homeless men and women veterans. This is a drug-free, transitional housing pro-gram where “veterans are helping veterans.” It provides the ca-maraderie of living in a structured, substance-free environment. Buffalo Valley offers many resources, such as case management, relapse prevention, vocational rehabilitation, job readiness/placement, housing, and transportation. Their goal is to help cli-ents achieve lifelong recovery from addiction and homelessness through residential stability, increased income/skills and greater self- determination.
Aspell Recovery Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening
Aspell Recovery held an event for their new Men’s Residential Dorm on May 6, 2016. Les Jaco, Board President, welcomed those gath-ered for the event. Mayors Jimmy Harris and Jerry Gist for Jackson and Montgomery County spoke as well along with Deann Thelen from West Tennessee Healthcare. Richard Barber, Executive Director of Aspell, spoke about this new resource and how the plans for it developed and came to fruition (see dignitaries photo left). Aspell programs include residential treat-ment, intensive out-patient and so-ber living.
Aspell is grateful for the support of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cin-cinnati and West TN Healthcare.
On Saturday, September 17th The Next Door in Nashville began a new tradition to celebrate sobriety with their first annual Sober Fest. Recovery Services Manager Ramie Siler saw a need for the women in their treatment program to have “sober fun” while recognizing their recovery accomplishments. The women of The Next Door committed to celebrate Sober Fest each year as a part of National Recovery Month.
“Sober Fest is another way for The Next Door to meet their goal of raising awareness about recovery, sharing the transformation of lives, families, and communities. Addiction has the ability to tear families apart. Sobriety and recovery can bring them back together. Sober Fest can help to remove the stigma of addiction and transcend the shame that women often feel when going through the journey of recovery,” said Patience Ruffin, Director of Treatment Services. Dedicated volunteers from The Next Door has made this day a success.
Snow cone and popcorn machines were donated by the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Off the Row Recording Studio offered sound and talent with musicians Jah-Way, Megan Golden, A&Em Duo, and Jeff Dayton and Scott Barrier lent their voices and their time. Eager children and adults waited in line for a volunteer face painter. Artwork from the women of the program was proudly displayed during the event. Art work goes beyond Sober Fest for these women. “The art work was completed by some of our clients specifically for Sober Fest.
The women worked over a course of two months to create pieces that were special to them and expressed their thoughts and feelings regarding recovery. ‘Art for the Heart’ is the name of our in-house residential art therapy program here at The Next Door. It is another facet in the healing of addiction and on-going recovery. All of our feelings, fears, and emotions that overwhelm us during recovery come from the heart and when verbal expression fails, the creation of art allows us to express ourselves silently through images and symbols. Every picture tells a story. Psalm 139,” said Ruffin. An event must always have good food and Jason’s Deli was there to donate food, time, and encouragement to the women and families of The Next Door.
General Manager and Partner of Jason’s Deli on West End, Dennis O’Keefe, and Catering Business Development Manager, Jamie Helm, attended the event O’Keefe stated, “I'm involved with the recovery community because I am in recovery. It has become part of my giving back to help others reestablish. I also found an untapped resource of quality employees in recovery community that is unlike anywhere else.” Ruffin said, "It is our hope that not only our clients, but their families were able to learn that recovery is a journey and we must celebrate every success along the way. We also wanted to ensure we reached out to the community by inviting alumni of The Next Door and other treatment programs in the area. We wanted everyone to feel empowered and hopeful about recovery. After our first event, we are excited to make this an annual celebration at The Next Door”
Want to learn about affordable health care and the Coverage Gap? Want to teach your friends? This video explains it all!
In the past 2 years, 7 rural hospitals have closed or drastically altered their services. One reason for these changes is because we don't have a plan to close the coverage gap, and they see too much uncompensated care. Watch the video to find out what hospitals have closed, how that community is affected, and then go to www.tnjustice.org/action to take action.
Stories shared by those in recovery help us to understand the challenges faced when seeking treatment and stabilization. We can help others who face these same hurtles, use the link below to let us know your story and what you faced when seeking treatment services and the ultimate outcome of those services.