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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - May, 2008



Congressional Affairs (Prepared May 2, 2008)

Appropriations

On February 4, 2008, the President released his FY 2009 Budget. NIDA's proposed budget is $1,001,672,000, an increase of $972,000 over the FY 2008 enacted appropriation.

For NIH overall, the proposed budget is $29.465 billion - the same amount as was enacted for FY 2008.

Hearings, Briefings, and Events of Interest

U.S. Senate Hearing on Cocaine Sentencing Policy: On February 12, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs (Chairman: Joseph Biden (D-DE) held a hearing entitled "Federal Cocaine Sentencing Laws: Reforming the 100-to-1 Crack/Powder Disparity." The hearing followed a recent ruling by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to reduce the disparity in sentencing guidelines for those convicted of dealing two different forms of cocaine and, in certain cases, to make those reductions retroactive.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow appeared before the Subcommittee to discuss the basic psychopharmacology of the drug. Her testimony (http://www.drugabuse.gov/Testimony/2-12-08Testimony.html), which covered the epidemiology and medical consequences of crack and powder cocaine addiction, also made clear that differences in the subjective effects of alternate forms of cocaine are related to the route of administration (i.e., whether the drug is injected, smoked, or snorted). Dr. Volkow also discussed the important role of behavioral research, noting that no medication has yet proven effective in treating cocaine dependence, but that several behavioral therapies have. Further information and testimony of other witnesses are available at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3089.

U.S. Senate Hearing on Prescription Drug Abuse: On March 12, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs (Chairman: Joseph Biden (D-DE) and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control (Co-Chairmen Joseph Biden and Charles Grassley (R-IA) held a hearing entitled "Generation Rx: The Abuse of Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs." The hearing was held to further investigate current prescription drug abuse issues, and to learn what we might do to ameliorate the problem.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow appeared before the Subcommittee and Caucus to discuss the science around this issue. Her testimony (http://www.drugabuse.gov/Testimony/3-12-08Testimony.html) covered the epidemiology, contributing factors, consequences, and NIDA research focused on addressing and alleviating prescription drug abuse and addiction. Further information and testimony of other witnesses are available at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3199.

Friends of NIDA Capitol Hill Briefing: On April 8, 2008, the Friends of NIDA, in conjunction with the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, held its tenth in a series of briefings designed to educate members of Congress and their staff about substance abuse and addiction issues. This briefing focused on the genetics of drug abuse and addiction. Research has shown that the causes of drug abuse and addiction are complex, with genetic, environmental, and developmental factors all contributing. Genetics accounts for approximately half of an individual's vulnerability to addiction, including how genes interact with the environment and stage of development. Thanks to recent scientific advances, we are now poised to further untangle these factors and to use that knowledge to better tailor prevention and treatment strategies. In fact, NIDA is supporting research to define and measure aspects of the social environment to understand how genes may mitigate or amplify social influences, known to powerfully affect individual choices and behaviors related to substance abuse.

NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow began the briefing by summarizing the Institute's genetics research portfolio as it relates to addiction and drug abuse. Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., Mary W. Calkins, Professor and Director of the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania, then discussed emerging research on the role of genetic influences in smoking cessation and response to treatments for nicotine addiction. Finally, Alexandra Shields, Ph.D., Director of the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, addressed challenges translating emerging pharmacogenetic approaches to smoking cessation treatment to clinical practice. The event was cosponsored by 26 Friends of NIDA scientific and professional organizations and was well-attended by congressional and constituency group staff.

Bills of Interest

[For the full text and additional information about any bill, go to the Library of Congress website at http://thomas.loc.gov].

Potential Institute Name Change --H.R.1348/S. 1011 - On March 6, 2007, Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and John Sullivan (R-OK) introduced H.R.1348, to redesignate the National Institute on Drug Abuse as the National Institute on Diseases of Addiction, and to redesignate the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health. Similarly, on March 28, 2008, Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced S. 1011, the Recognizing Addiction as a Disease Act of 2007, which would make the same changes. In a press release, Senator Biden said the intent of the legislation is to recognize addiction as a preventable and treatable neurobiological disease, and to better identify the roles and missions of our research institutes. "Addiction is a neurobiological disease - not a lifestyle choice - and it's about time we start treating it as such," said Sen. Biden. "We must lead by example and change the names of our Federal research institutes to accurately reflect this reality. By changing the way we talk about addiction, we change the way people think about addiction, both of which are critical steps in getting past the social stigma too often associated with the disease." The House bill was referred to the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee; the Senate bill was marked up and passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 27, 2007. The bill has been placed on the Senate calendar under General Orders. The bill is currently being "held" by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). He must release his hold if the bill is to receive full consideration in the Senate.

Stem Cells - H.R. 3/S.5 - On January 5, 2007, Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced H.R. 3, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. The Senate companion, S. 5, was introduced on January 4, 2007, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The bills would require the Secretary of HHS to conduct and support research using human embryonic stem cells regardless of the date on which such cells were derived. Both the House and Senate passed their bills. The Senate bill was amended prior to floor consideration. As amended, the bill would also require the Secretary to conduct and support research involving methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells that do not involve the use of human embryos. The House passed the amended Senate bill, thus sending the bill to the President. The President vetoed the bill. Concurrent with his veto, the President issued an Executive Order requiring the Secretary of HHS to enhance funding for research on alternative methods to derive pluripotent stem cells that do not involve human embryos.

Stem Cells - S. 30 - On April 11, 2007, the Senate passed S. 30, the Hope Offered Through Principled and Ethical Stem Cell Research Act, by a roll call vote of 70-28. The bill, introduced on March 29, 2007, by Representative Norm Coleman (R-MN) would require the Secretary to support research to develop pluripotent stem cells using methods that do not involve either the creation of, harm to, or destruction of human embryos. As mentioned above re: S.5, the President issued an Executive Order requiring the Secretary of HHS to enhance funding for research on alternative methods to derive pluripotent stem cells that do not involve human embryos.

Genetic Non-discrimination - H.R. 493/S. 358 - On January 16, 2007, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced H.R. 493, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007. The Senate companion, S. 358, was introduced by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on January 22, 2007. These bills, which would prohibit discrimination in health insurance and employment on the basis of predictive genetic information, are identical to legislation passed by the Senate during the 109th Congress. The bills would prohibit health insurers in both the group and individual markets from (1) using genetic information to impose enrollment restrictions or to adjust premium or contribution amounts, (2) requesting genetic testing or results except as necessary for treatment, payment, or health care operations, or (3) requesting or requiring the use of genetic information for the purposes of underwriting. The bills define a genetic test as an analysis of human DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins, or metabolites that detects genotypes, mutations, or chromosomal changes. The House passed its original bill on April 25, 2007. On April 24, 2008, the Senate passed an amended version of the House bill; the House passed the final bill on May 1, 2008. The President has said he will sign the bill into law.

Insurance Parity for Mental Health and Substance Abuse - H.R. 1424/S.558 - On February 12, 2007, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) introduced the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007, a bill to provide parity between health insurance coverage of mental health benefits and benefits for medical and surgical services. On March 9, 2007, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, to amend section 712 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, section 2705 of the Public Health Service Act, and section 9812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans. The Senate passed its bill in September of 2007; the House passed its bill on March 5, 2008. Negotiations continue in Congress in pursuit of a compromise bill.

Community Re-entry for Prisoners -- H.R. 1593/S. 1060 - On March 20, 2007, Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced the Second Chance Act of 2007, to reauthorize the grant program for reentry of offenders into the community in the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, to improve reentry planning and implementation, and for other purposes. The Senate version of this bill was introduced by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) on March 29, 2007. The bills include a strong focus on drug treatment in the criminal justice system, and consultation with NIDA is required in several bill sections. The House passed its bill in November, the Senate passed its bill in March of 2008, and the President signed it into law (P.L 110-199).

Tobacco -- H.R. 1108/S. 625 - On February 15, 2007, Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1108, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act - a bill to protect public health by providing the Food and Drug Administration with certain authority to regulate tobacco products. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced an identical bill in the Senate. Both bills have been reported out by their respective Committees, and further action is pending.

Crack vs. Powder Cocaine - Several bills have been introduced to address the sentencing differences for those convicted of selling or possessing different forms of cocaine. Most attempt to equalize penalties. Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) introduced H.R. 79, the Powder-Crack Cocaine Penalty Equalization Act of 2007. Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced H.R. 460, the Crack-Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 2007. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced H.R. 5035, the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2008. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) introduced S. 1383, the Drug Sentencing Reform Act of 2007. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced S. 1685, the Fairness in Drug Sentencing Act of 2007. Senator Joseph Biden introduced S. 1711, the Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007. All of these bills have been referred to their appropriate committees and further action is pending.

Freedom of Information - Several bills designed to broaden accessibility to government information were introduced last year (H.R. 1309, H.R. 1326, S. 849, S. 2427). Senator Patrick Leahy introduced S. 2488, the Open Government Act of 2007, to combine various proposals, which passed the House and Senate and became law in December, 2007. The law aims to promote accessibility, accountability and openness in government by strengthening Section 522 of Title 5, U.S. Code (the Freedom of Information Act).

H.R. 405 - On January 11, 2007, Representative Barbara Cubin (R-WY) introduced the Family-Based Meth Treatment Access Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Service Act regarding residential treatment programs for pregnant and parenting women, a program to reduce substance abuse among nonviolent offenders, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. See. S. 884

H.R. 970 - On February 8, 2007, Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced H.R. 970, the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act of 2007, to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with respect to the distribution of the drug dextromethorphan, and for other purposes. The bill was passed in October. See also S. 1378, S. 2274

H.R. 1155 - On February 16, 2007, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R. 1155, a bill to amend Title XIX of the Social Security Act to remove the exclusion from medical assistance under the Medicaid Program of items and services for patients in an institution for mental diseases (the "IMD Exclusion"). The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 1170 - On February 16, 2007, former Representative Martin Meehan (D-MA) introduced H.R. 1170, the Comprehensive Awareness of Problem Gambling Act of 2007. H.R. 1170 includes a research provision which would require the President to establish a national program of research on problem gambling. The bill would require the President to appoint an advisory commission to coordinate activities of Federal agencies relating to research on problem gambling including the activities of the NIH. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 1199 - On February 27, 2007, Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) introduced the Drug Endangered Children Act of 2007, to extend the grant program for drug-endangered children. The bill passed in September. See S. 1210.

H.R. 1200 - On February 27, 2007, Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced H.R. 1200, the American Health Security Act of 2007. The purpose of the bill is "to provide for health care for every American and to control the cost and enhance the quality of the health care system." Of interest to NIH is section 722, which would establish the Office of Primary Care and Prevention Research within the Office of the Director; require the establishment of a data system of information regarding primary care and prevention research that is conducted or supported by the ICs; require the establishment of a clearinghouse to provide information on research and prevention activities of the ICs that relate to primary care and prevention research; require a biennial report on primary care and prevention research; and authorize $150 million for FY 2008, $180 million for FY 2009, and $216 million for FY 2010. In addition, the legislation would amend the authorities of the NIH Director to require that sufficient resources are sufficiently allocated for projects on primary care and prevention research. H.R. 1200 was jointly referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means; Oversight and Government Reform; and Armed Services.

H.R. 1663 - On March 23, 2007, Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced HR 1663, The Medicare Mental Health Modernization Act of 2007, to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to expand and improve coverage of mental health services under the Medicare Program. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 1943 - On April 19, 2007, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Stop AIDS in Prison Act of 2007, to provide for an effective HIV/AIDS program in Federal prisons. The bill passed the House in September, and was sent to the Senate, where it is pending before the Judiciary Committee.

H.R. 2073 - On April 30, 2007, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced the Child Health Care Crisis Act of 2007, to help bring new professionals into the mental health services field. The bill creates educational incentives such as grants, scholarships and loan forgiveness programs to encourage more professionals to enter and remain in child and adolescent mental health. It would also support institutions of higher learning in their efforts to enhance and prioritize children's mental health issues in their curriculum and training opportunities. The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. See S.1572.

H.R. 2223 - On May 8, 2007, Representative Jon Porter (R-NV) introduced this bill to direct the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to conduct a study on prescription drug take-back programs, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 2425 - On May 22, 2007, Representative John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Stop Marketing Illegal Drugs to Minors Act, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide enhanced penalties for marketing controlled substances to minors. The bill was referred to the Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce. See S. 1211.

H.R. 2552 - On May 24, 2007, Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY) introduced the Hepatitis C Control and Prevention Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish, promote and support a comprehensive prevention, research and medical management referral program for hepatitis C virus infection. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. See S. 1445.

H.R. 2645 - On June 11, 2007, Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) introduced the Judicial Initiative Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Improvement Act of 2007, to amend the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to improve mental health and substance abuse treatment by providing grants for justice system personnel training, treatment programs and diversion programs, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committees on Education and Labor and Judiciary.

H.R. 2647 - On June 11, 2007, Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) introduced the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Juvenile Services Improvement Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve mental health and substance abuse services for juveniles. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 2900 - On June 29, 2007, Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) introduced the FDA Amendments Act of 2007. The bill passed the House and was referred to the Senate in July. See S.1082.

H.R. 2994 - On July 11, 2007, Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) introduced the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to pain care. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3000 - On July 11, 2007, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Josephine Butler United States Health Service Act. Of interest to NIH are provisions that would establish the United States Health Service and a National Health Board. Upon enactment, NIH, AHRQ, ATSDR, CDC, and SAMHSA would be transferred to the National Health Board. It would also establish the following new institutes: National Institute of Epidemiology; National Institute of Evaluative Clinical Research; the National Institute of Health Care Services; the National Institute of Pharmacy and Medical Supply; and the National Institute of Sociology of Health and Health Care. This bill has been reintroduced continually since the 105th Congress. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Education and Workforce, and Ways and Means.

H.R. 3014 - On July 12, 2007, Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2007, to improve the health of minority individuals. Provisions of interest to NIH include a requirement that each Federal health agency develop and implement a national strategic action plan to eliminate disparities on the basis of race, ethnicity, and primary language and improve the health and health care of minority populations through programs relevant to the mission of the agency. NIH-related provisions would amend authorities of the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) to require (1) the Director of the Center, in consultation with the respective Institute and Center (IC) directors or their designees, plan, coordinate, and evaluate research and other activities conducted or supported by the agencies of the NIH and carry out periodic re-evaluations of these activities; (2) annual review and revision of a comprehensive plan and budget for the conduct and support of relevant research; (3) systematic review of research activities, including establishment of mechanisms for tracking minority health and health disparities research conducted within the ICs, with assessments of the appropriateness of such research within the overall goals and objectives of the Plan; and (4) early identification of applications and proposals for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements supporting relevant extramural training, research, and development that are submitted to the ICs. In addition, provisions would require that the Director, NCMHD, expend all amounts appropriated under section 485E for minority health and health disparities research, in accordance with the section and applicable law and in collaboration with the Director, NIH, and the IC directors. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Education and Labor, Natural Resources, and Judiciary.

H.R. 3130 - On July 23, 2007, Representative Darlene Hooley (D-OR) introduced the Enhanced Methamphetamine Treatment Grants Assistance Act of 2007, to amend title V of the Public Health Service Act to provide for enhanced comprehensive methamphetamine treatment services. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3186 - On July 26, 2007, Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced the Meth Mouth Prevention and Community Recovery Act, to understand and comprehensively address the oral health problems associated with methamphetamine use. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. See S. 1906.

H.R. 3187 - On July 26, 2007, Representative Brian Baird (D-WA) introduced the Meth Mouth Correctional Costs and Reentry Support Act, to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to understand and comprehensively address the inmate oral health problems associated with methamphetamine use, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. See S. 1907.

H.R. 3409 - On August 3, 2007, Representative Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced H.R. 3409, the Place to Call Home Act, to create the conditions, structures, and supports needed to ensure permanency for the nation's unaccompanied youth, and for other purposes. The bill contains a number of provisions related to improving funding and coordination of drug and alcohol prevention and treatment services. The bill was referred to the Committees on Education and Labor, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, and Judiciary.

H.R. 3411 - On August 3, 2007, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 3411, the Juvenile Crime Reduction Act, to improve the treatment of young people in the juvenile justice system with mental health or substance use disorders. The legislation would establish a number of grant programs to increase training, technical assistance, and coordination of service providers, including those who provide addiction treatment services, to young people who are involved with the juvenile justice system. H.R. 3411 would establish a number of grant programs aimed at improving services for youth in the juvenile justice system with mental health or substance use disorders. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Education and Labor and Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3433 - On August 3, 2007, Representative Steven Pearce (R-NM) introduced the Methamphetamine Treatment and Rehabilitation Best Practices Act of 2007, to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health, to conduct a survey of research available on methamphetamine addiction and treatment. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3434 - On August 3, 2007, Representative Steven Pearce (R-NM) introduced the Americans Saving Through Health Research Bonds Act of 2007. The bill would amend 31 USC 3105 to authorize the Secretary to designate one or more series of health research bonds or certificates (or any portion thereof) to benefit each of the NIH institutes. The Secretary would be required to deduct and withhold ten percent of the amount of any interest payable under any such bond, which would be paid to the designated NIH institute to carry out research activities. It would also be required that the amount of any such payment would not be taken into account in making decisions regarding funds appropriated or otherwise provided to the NIH. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

H.R. 3561 - On September 18th, 2007, Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced H.R. 3561, the Community Coalitions for Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2007, legislation that would authorize a grant program aimed at better integrating health care delivery. Primarily concerned with expanding and coordinating the delivery of health services, H.R. 3561 seeks to increase access to health care for low-income and uninsured populations. In determining grant eligibility, priority would be given to applicants who seek to expand drug and alcohol addiction and mental health treatment services. The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

H.R. 3656 - On September 26th, 2007, Representative Phil English (R-PA) introduced H.R. 3656, to require states to withhold assistance to applicants for, and recipients of, temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) with respect to whom there is substantial evidence of recent unlawful drug use. The legislation would require states to drug test TANF applicants and recipients suspected of using illicit drugs. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

H. R. 3749 - On October 4, 2007, Representative Darlene Hooley (D-OR) introduced H.R. 3749, the Methamphetamine Prevention Enhancement Act, to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment of a Drug-Free Workplace Information Clearinghouse, to authorize programs to prevent and improve treatment of methamphetamine addiction, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 3992 - On October 30, 2007, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2007, to amend Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide grants for the improved mental health treatment and services provided to offenders with mental illnesses, and for other purposes. The bill passed the House in January, 2008. See S. 2304.

H.R. 4053 - On November 1, 2007, Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) introduced the Mental Health Improvement Act of 2007, to improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee on Health. See S. 2162.

H.R. 4129 - On November 8, 2007, Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) introduced the Homeless Access to Recovery through Treatment Act, to amend the Public Health Service Act to strengthen and expand substance abuse and mental health services to persons experiencing homelessness in the United States. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 4232 - On November 15, 2007, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 4232, the Improving the Quality of Mental and Substance Use Health Care Act of 2007, to improve mental and substance use health care in the U.S. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 4848 - On December 19, 2007, Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4848 to extend parity in the application of certain limits to mental health benefits and for other purposes. The bill passed the House on February 8, 2008.

H.R. 5176 - On January 29, 2008, Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced the Community Mental Health Services Improvement Act," to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to mental health services. The Bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. See S. 2182.

H.R. 5501 - On February 27, 2008, Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and for other purposes. The bill passed the House on April 2. Of particular interest to NIH are provisions that would (1) require the Secretary of HHS, acting through the CDC and NIH, to conduct appropriately programmatic relevant clinical and operational research to identify and evaluate new diagnostics, treatment regimens, and interventions to prevent and control malaria, (2) authorize the Secretary to participate with other countries in cooperative endeavors in biomedical research, health care services, health care research, or other related activities in furtherance of the activities, goals and objectives authorized under this act, (3) and require establishment, within the Department of State, of an interagency working group on HIV/AIDS, headed by the Global AIDS Coordinator and including representatives from HHS and the U.S. Agency for International Development, for the purposes of coordination of activities related to HIV/AIDS. See S. 2731.

H.R. 5554 - On March 6, 2008, Representative Michael Michaud (D-ME) introduced the Veterans Substance Use Disorders Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008, to amend Title 38, United States Code, to expand and improve health care services available to veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs for substance use disorders, and for other purposes. The Committee on Veterans Affairs held subcommittee and committee hearings, and the bill was reported favorably (as the Justin Bailey Veterans Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008 on April 30. If enacted into law, this bill would require that each VA medical center provide ready access to a full continuum of care for substance use disorders for veterans in need of such care. Under the legislation, this continuum of care is defined as including: Screenings for substance use disorder in all settings Detoxification and stabilization services Intensive outpatient care services Relapse prevention services Outpatient counseling services Residential substance use disorder treatment for veterans with severe recurring substance abuse or substance dependence Pharmacological treatment to reduce cravings, including opioid substitution therapy Coordination with groups providing peer to peer counseling Short-term, early interventions for substance use disorders Marital and family counseling The VA Secretary would also be required to reach out to veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom to increase awareness of the availability of care, treatment and services from the VA for substance use disorders. The bill also authorizes a $1.5 million per year pilot program to test the feasibility of providing veterans who seek treatment for substance use disorders access to a computer-based self-assessment, education, and specified treatment program through a secure Internet website operated by the VA. Finally, the bill requires the Secretary of the VA to include a detailed report to Congress on the care, treatment and services provided by the VA during the most recently completed fiscal year. The report must include data from each VA medical facility, including information about the number of veterans who received substance use disorder screening; the number of veterans for whom a disorder was identified after a screening at a VA facility; the number of veterans who were referred by a VA facility for care, treatment or services; the number of veterans who actually received care, treatment or services; and the availability of the full continuum of care.

H.R. 5613 - On March 3, 2008, Representative John Dingell introduced the Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008, to extend certain moratoria and impose additional moratoria on certain Medicaid regulations through April 1, 2009. The seven regulations targeted by this bill seek to limit certain types of services reimbursable under Medicaid provided by addiction treatment, mental health treatment and other healthcare providers. Reimbursement payments under Medicaid for targeted case management, rehabilitation, school-based transportation and outreach, hospital outpatient and other services provided through the health care system would be restricted under the proposed rules. The bill passed the House on April 23. See S. 2819.

H.R. 5619 - On March 13, 2008, Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2008, to enhance the ability to combat methamphetamine. The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Judiciary. See S. 2071.

H.R. 5819 - On April 17, 2008, Representative Nydia Velazquez introduced the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, to amend the Small Business Act to improve the SBIR program and the STTR program, and for other purposes. The bill would reauthorize the programs until 2010 with allocation levels remaining at 2.5 percent for SBIR and 0.3 percent for STTR. The bill increases the award levels for SBIR and STTR Phase I at $300,000 and Phase II at $2,200,000. The measure would require the establishment of an advisory board at each participating agency to review quarterly reports and make necessary recommendations. Additionally, the bill would expand the eligibility criteria to allow small business concerns with multiple venture capital investment and ownership to apply for awards. Further, H.R. 5819 would provide flexibility to applicants for cross-over between the programs and to apply directly for Phase II awards. During committee markup, 15 amendments were adopted, some of which would provide for a preference in awarding grants to businesses owned by veterans, that are located in areas with high unemployment, working on rare-disease or nanotechnology-related research topics, or that have taken steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Finally, the bill would require rendering final decisions on applications within 90 days after closing of the solicitation, with some exceptions. The bill passed the House on April 23.

H.R. 5835 - On April 17, 2008, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Health Promotion Funding Integrated Research, Synthesis, and Training Act, or the Health Promotion FIRST Act, to provide for increased planning and funding for health promotion programs of the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill would require OBSSR to develop, and periodically review and as appropriate revise, a plan on how to best develop the basic science of health promotion through the NIH agencies. The bill would also authorize $30 million for FY 2009 to conduct or support early research programs and research training regarding health promotion. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 5842 - On April 17, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, to provide for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 5843 - On April 17, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Act to Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults, to eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary.

S. 884 - On March 14, 2007, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Family-Based Meth Treatment Access Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Service Act regarding residential treatment programs for pregnant and parenting women, a program to reduce substance abuse among nonviolent offenders, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. See H.R. 405.

S. 980 - On March 23, 2007, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to address online pharmacies. The legislation seeks to impose registration and reporting requirements on pharmacies that deliver controlled substances via the Internet. In her comments on the bill's introduction, Senator Feinstein expressed particular concern with the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction. As passed by the Senate, the measure would amend federal drug law to mandate that no controlled substance could be distributed via the Internet -- with some exceptions -- without a valid prescription by a health care practitioner who has physically examined the recipient at least once. The bill passed the Senate on April 1, and was referred to the House.

S. 1082 - On April 10, 2007, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. 1082, The Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act. The bill is focused primarily on FDA and contains sections regarding user fees and drug safety monitoring procedures. As amended, the bill also contains several provisions of interest to NIH. First, the bill would expand the Clinicaltrials.gov registry to include mandatory reporting of certain drug and device clinical trials. The bill would also require that the ClinicalTrials.gov website provide corresponding linkages to peer-reviewed literature and certain publicly available FDA information regarding the results of those trials. Second, S. 1082 includes provisions to reauthorize the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act. Third, the bill contains provisions to expand research on pediatric devices. Finally, an amendment offered by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was added during floor debate, requiring the Secretary to contract with the Institute of Medicine to make recommendations regarding oversight and regulation of genetic tests. The Senate passed its bill in May.

S. 1210 - On April 25, 2007, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced S. 1210, the Drug Endangered Children Act of 2007, to extend the grant program for drug-endangered children. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it is pending. See H.R. 1199.

S. 1211 - On April 25, 2007, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Saving Kids from Dangerous Drugs Act, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to provide enhanced penalties for marketing controlled substances to minors. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. See H.R. 2425.

S. 1337 - On May 8, 2007, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the Children's Mental Health Parity Act, to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to provide for equal coverage of mental health services under the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

S. 1367 - On May 10, 2007, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Treatment and Prevention of Methamphetamine Abuse Act of 2007, to amend the Public Health Services Act to provide methamphetamine prevention and treatment services. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

S. 1378 - On May 14, 2007, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced S. 1378, the Dextromethorphan Distribution Act of 2007, to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act with respect to the distribution of the drug dextromethorphan, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where it awaits action. See H.R. 970.

S. 1445 - On May 22, 2007, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Hepatitis C Epidemic Control Prevention Act of 2007. The bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish, promote, and support a comprehensive prevention, research, and medical management referral program for hepatitis C virus infection. The bill also would require the Director of NIH to establish a Liver Disease Research Advisory Board, which would be charged with developing a Liver Disease Research Plan. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. See H.R. 2552.

S. 1470 - On May 23, 2007, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced the Drug Free Varsity Sports Act of 2007, to provide States with the resources needed to rid our schools of performance-enhancing drug use. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

S. 1572 - On June 7, 2007, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Child Health Care Crisis Relief Act of 2007, to increase the number of well-trained mental health service professionals (including those based in schools) providing clinical mental health care to children and adolescents, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. See. H.R. 2073.

S. 1882 - On July 26th, 2007, Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) introduced S. 1882, the Public Health Preparedness Workforce Development Act of 2007. The bill would create scholarship, loan repayment, and grant programs to recruit and retain public health workers. Intended to increase the ratio of public health workers to the population, S. 1882 would bring doctors, nurses, researchers, technicians, and other medical workers, including those working in the behavioral sciences, into the public health field. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

S. 1906 - On July 31, 2007, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Meth Mouth Prevention and Community Recovery Act, to increase understanding and comprehensively address the oral health problems associated with methamphetamine use. The bill would require the Secretary of HHS to expand and intensify clinical research, health services research, and public health research on associations between substance use disorders, oral health, and the provision of dental care in collaboration with Federal and non-Federal entities. In addition, the bill would authorize funds to carry out this section as well as one that would require SAMHSA to support training of dental personnel to be aware of such findings. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. See H.R. 3186.

S. 1907 - On July 31, 2007, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the Meth Mouth Correctional Costs and Reentry Support Act., to amend title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to understand and comprehensively address the inmate oral health problems associated with methamphetamine use, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. See H.R. 3187.

S. 2071 - On September 19, 2007, Senator Diane Feinstein introduced the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2007, to enhance the ability to combat methamphetamine. The bill passed the Senate on February 11, 2008, and was referred to the House. See H.R. 5619.

S. 2162 - On October 15, 2007, Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced the Veterans Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007, to improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes. On April 8, 2008, the bill was reported out by the Committee on Veterans Affairs and placed on the Senate legislative calendar. See H.R. 4053.

S 2182 - On October 17, 2007, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the Community Mental Health Services Improvement Act, to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to mental health services. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. See H.R. 5176.

S. 2237 - On October 25, 2007, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced the Crime Control and Prevention Act of 2007, an omnibus bill to fight crime. The legislation includes several drug-related programs. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

S. 2274 - On October 31, 2007, Senator Joseph Biden introduced the Dextromethorphan Abuse Reduction Act of 2007, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to prevent the abuse of dextromethorphan, and other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

S. 2304 - On November 5, 2007, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) introduced the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2007, to amend Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide grants for the improved mental health treatment and services provided to offenders with mental illnesses, and for other purposes. On April 1, 2008, the bill was reported out by the Committee on the Judiciary and placed on the legislative calendar. See H.R. 3992.

S. 2731 - On March 7, 2008, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) introduced the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and for other purposes. On March 13, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (Senator Joseph Biden [D-DE], Chairman) marked up and ordered the bill reported. The bill was placed on the Senate legislative calendar. Of particular interest to NIH are provisions that would (1) require the Secretary of HHS, acting through the CDC and NIH, to conduct appropriately programmatic relevant clinical and operational research to identify and evaluate new diagnostics, treatment regimens, and interventions to prevent and control malaria, (2) authorize the Secretary to participate with other countries in cooperative endeavors in biomedical research, health care services, health care research, or other related activities in furtherance of the activities, goals and objectives authorized under this act, (3) and require establishment, within the Department of State, of an interagency working group on HIV/AIDS, headed by the Global AIDS Coordinator and including representatives from HHS and the U.S. Agency for International Development, for the purposes of coordination of activities related to HIV/AIDS.

S. 2819 - On April 3, 2008, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Economic Recovery in Health Care Act of 2008, to preserve access to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program during an economic downturn, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance. See H.R. 5613.


Index

Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings

Publications

Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors



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