2014 Legislative Session Winner: Behavioral health advocates

in Uncategorized by

The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association pulled out some hefty session wins, and in doing so, scored some points for safer communities across the state. Its efforts have secured greater treatment options for mental health and substance abuse addiction disorders, and have worked toward integrating conversations about behavioral health into the primary care setting.

Some of the FADAA’s legislative priorities included measures on background screening, needle exchange programs, inmate reentry, and weight thresholds for oxycodone and hydrocodone to be considered trafficking.

Because of FADAA’s testimony, a new pilot project is being created to bring an individualized treatment regimen for families with children in child welfare. The Casey Report and Miami Herald series identify 68 percent of child victims also had parents with substance abuse problems.

These priorities were lobbied under the able guidance of Frank and Tracy Mayernick, as well as FADAA executive director Mark Fontaine, and Jill Gran. Other team coalition players were the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, Florida Partners in Crisis and several FADAA members and their lobbyists, such as DACCO and Manatee Glens.

Though the association tallied many wins this year — some simply the moral victory of having favorable hearings if not full passage — many other priorities failed to gain speed. These included telemedicine, Baker Act reform, and Medicaid expansion. Can’t win ’em all, but the FADAA and its allies are clearly among the net winners of 2014.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.