SAMHSA Reauthorization Update FY2008

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has been working on the reauthorization of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for the past nine months. A draft bill was circulated in December 2007 with the intention of bringing the bill before the Committee for a "mark up" at the beginning of 2008.

As you know, APA sought changes to the current law related to workforce development and training, prevention and early intervention, aging, campus suicide prevention and a clear authority for the Minority Fellowship Program. Some of the changes sought by APA were included in the draft, while others--such as changes to the Campus Suicide Prevention program, workforce development (i.e., professional training) or authority of the Minority Fellowship--were not. Before the mark-up was officially noticed, objections were raised by the Campaign Against Religious Discrimination (CARD) related to charitable choice provisions that were part of current law and which were maintained in the reauthorization. To date, the bill has not been scheduled for a mark up and it is unclear if this issue can be resolved in a way that will allow the legislative process to move forward. As soon as there is action on this bill or another bill to reauthorize SAMHSA, APA Education and other Government Relations Staff will continue to advocate to get our recommendations included.