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



Congressional Affairs (Prepared August 29, 2008)

Appropriations

FY 2008 -- On June 30, 2008, the President signed into law H.R. 2642 (now Public Law 110-252), the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008, which included $150 million for NIH. NIDA's allocation from this total was $5.3 million.

FY 2009 -- House -- On June 19, 2008, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education marked up its draft bill for FY2009, including a 3.9 percent or $1.15 billion increase for NIH programs. Full Committee action was scheduled for June 26. The Committee met but adjourned before taking action on the FY2009 Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill. Further House appropriations action is pending.

FY 2009 -- Senate -- In the Senate, June 26, 2008 saw the Senate Appropriations Committee pass its Labor/HHS bill for FY 2009. This bill includes an increase of $1.025 billion for NIH, for a total of $30,254,524,000. The full committee passed the bill it received from the subcommittee, amended to require the Secretary, HHS, to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for public comment in advance of modifying regulations to strengthen federal oversight, including requirements for financial disclosure to institutions, governing conflicts of interest among extramural investigators receiving grant support from NIH.

Hearings, Briefings, and Events of Interest

U.S. Senators visit new IRP facility - On June 2, 2008, NIH hosted a visit by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to the NIH Biomedical Research Center on the Bayview Campus of the Johns Hopkins University. Presenters included Drs. Elias A. Zerhouni, Director, NIH; Richard Hodes, Director, NIA, and Mark Mattson, Chief, Laboratory of Neurosciences, NIA; Nora Volkow, Director, NIA, Elliott Stein, Chief, Neuroimaging Research Branch, NIDA.

Vaccine Development Discussed at Friends of NIDA Congressional Briefing - The Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) hosted its eleventh congressional briefing on July 29. The educational event, titled "Developing New Tools to Prevent and Treat Addiction: Vaccine Development on the Horizon," was held in conjunction with the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus. Attendance was again very strong, indicating continued significant congressional interest in addiction issues.

The expert panel outlined the growing body of research on vaccines used as an addiction treatment and prevention tool. This innovative approach has the potential to profoundly impact the public's health, as drugs of abuse have powerful influences over behavior through their actions on the brain, particularly in those circuits involved in reward and motivation. Immunization is a strategy that seems ideally suited to address this problem. NIDA has embraced the concept and is guiding, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, an important vaccine development effort.

NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow opened the briefing with an overview of the Institute's research portfolio as it relates to medications development and vaccine treatments for addiction. Michael Owens, PhD, Professor and Director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse and a Wilbur Mills Endowed Chair in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, then discussed developing research on antibody-based medications for use in treating methamphetamine addiction. Next, Thomas Kosten, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine and Research Director of the VA National Substance Use Disorders Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, shared his results from clinical trials with potential vaccines for treating cocaine addiction. Finally, Dorothy Hatsukami, PhD, Professor in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Tobacco Research Program and Associate Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, discussed her studies of vaccine development for the treatment of nicotine dependence. Photos and presentations from the briefing can be found at http://www.thefriendsofnida.org/briefing-2008-07.php.

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, 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. The President signed the bill into law (P.L. 110-233) on May 21.

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. Compromise language has been agreed to, but has yet to come to a vote in either the House or Senate. Congressional leaders are on record hoping to pass the legislation before Congress adjourns this fall. (NOTE: The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which was passed by Congress in July [P.L. 110-275] includes some parity provisions within the Medicare program.)

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. The House bill (as amended in Committee) passed on July 30, 2008, and action is still pending in the Senate.

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).

Small Business - Senate - On July 30, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Senator John Kerry [D-MA], Chairman) held a mark up hearing and reported favorably S. 3362, a bill to reauthorize and improve the SBIR and STTR programs, Reauthorization Act of 2008. S. 3362 would reauthorize SBIR until 2022 and STTR until 2023. It would increase the set-aside for SBIR by 0.1% each year to 3.5% by 2022 for all participating agencies except for the NIH, and double the set-aside for STTR from the current 0.3% to 0.6% by 2014 for all agencies. The measure would increase the SBIR and STTR awards to $150,000 for phase I and to $1,000,000 for phase II, not to exceed 50% of the guideline. The bill would allow the NIH to award up to 18% of SBIR funds to companies majority-owned and controlled by multiple venture capital firms. Other agencies would be allowed to use up to 8% of their funds to award such venture-backed small businesses. S. 3362 includes numerous provisions aimed at strengthening outreach and commercialization pilot initiatives, Federal and state technology partnership programs, and encouraging participation from rural communities. The measure would also require agencies to collect additional data on SBIR applicants. Under section entitles "NIH Cures Pilot," an advisory board would be established at the National Academies to periodically evaluate the SBIR program at all NIH institutes. S. 3362 differs substantially from its House companion, H.R. 5819, passed in April 2008. Any further action is pending. House -- 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.

HIV/AIDS - On July 30, the President signed H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 as P.L. 110-293. Research-related provisions would require the Director, NIH Office of AIDS Research, to (1) expedite the implementation of the Federal strategic plan regarding the conduct and support of research on, and the development of, a microbicide to prevent HIV transmission, (2) review and revise, as appropriate, the plan to prioritize funding and activities relative to their scientific urgency and potential market readiness, and (3) consult with the Global AIDS Coordinator, the Director, CDC, the Administrator, USAID, the microbicide community, and health advocates. Further, the Director, NIAID, acting through the Institute's Director of the Division of AIDS, would be required to carry out research on, and development of, safe and effective methods for use by women to prevent HIV transmission, including microbicides.

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 February 6, 2008, Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced legislation 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. 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, the bill was reported favorably (as the Justin Bailey Veterans Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Act of 2008), and passed the House on May 20. The bill was referred to the Senate, where action is pending.

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 (D-MI) 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 and was referred to the Senate. See also 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. 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, 2008, 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, 2008, 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.

H.R. 5989 - On May 7, 2008, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 5989, the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act. The Senate companion, S. 2989, was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on the same day. This legislation would require the Secretary of HHS to implement a National Neurotechnology Initiative and establish a National Neurotechnology Coordinating Office within HHS to coordinate all activities. The legislation would authorize the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research which already exists at NIH and would require that, in carrying out the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program and responsibilities, IC directors, where appropriate, give high priority to small businesses that participate in or conduct neurotechnology research and development projects and annually report to the Office established above. H.R. 5989 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. S. 2989 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

H.R. 6215 - On June 9, 2008, Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 6215, the Advancing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Research, Prevention, and Services Act, to amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and extend the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome prevention and services program. H.R. 6215 would require the NIH Director, in coordination with the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, to establish a research agenda for FASD and award grants, contracts or cooperative agreements to public or private nonprofit entities to carry out the agenda. H.R. 6215 would reauthorize the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, led by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, to coordinate activities among the Federal agencies. H.R. 6215 was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor.

H.R. 6281 - On June 17, 2008, Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) introduced the High School Sports Anti-Drug Act, a bill to provide states with the resources needed to rid our schools of performance-enhancing drug use. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. See. S. 1470

H.R. 6353 - On June 24, 2008, Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) introduced the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to address online pharmacies. The bill was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and Judiciary. See S. 980

H.R. 6498 - On July 15, 2008, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2008, a bill to secure the promise of personalized medicine for all Americans by expanding and accelerating genomics research and initiatives to improve the accuracy of disease diagnosis, increase the safety of drugs, and identify novel treatments, and for other purposes. The bill was referred to the Committees on Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 6680 - On July 30, 2008, Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) introduced H.R. 6680, the Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act. Provisions would provide that "notwithstanding any other provisions for law, nothing shall prohibit the use of Federal funds to establish or carry out a program of distributing sterile syringes to reduce the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and viral hepatitis." H.R. 6680 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H. Res. 1359 - On July 21, 2008, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced a resolution expressing support for the goals and ideals of National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day and encouraging that (1) primary care physicians and other clinicians nationwide become actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, testing, treatment, and referral services; (2) the media educate clinicians and the public to the benefits of HIV testing; and (3) individuals get tested and educate themselves about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. H. Res. 1359 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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 passed the Senate on June 3. 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. 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.

S. 2988 - On May 7, 2008, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) introduced the Accelerating Cures Act of 2008" to amend the Public Health Service Act to enhance public and private research efforts to develop new tools and therapies that prevent, detect, and cure diseases. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

S. 2989 - On May 7, 2008, Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) introduced H.R. 5989, the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act. The Senate companion, S. 2989, was introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on the same day. This legislation would require the Secretary of HHS to implement a National Neurotechnology Initiative and establish a National Neurotechnology Coordinating Office within HHS to coordinate all activities. The legislation would authorize the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research which already exists at NIH and would require that, in carrying out the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program and responsibilities, IC directors, where appropriate, give high priority to small businesses that participate in or conduct neurotechnology research and development projects and annually report to the Office established above. H.R. 5989 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. S. 2989 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

S. 3173 - On June 20th, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced S. 3173, the "Keeping Families Safe Act of 2008." S. 3173 seeks to better allow children currently in foster care to be placed with a parent living in a residential treatment facility that provides drug and alcohol addiction treatment services. Under the legislation, the current law would be amended to add residential family addiction treatment centers to the list of child-care institutions that can receive foster care maintenance payments. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

S. 3379 - On July 31, 2008, Senator John Kerry introduced the SERV Act, to provide grants to establish veterans treatment courts. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

S. 3387 - On July 31, 2008, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced for himself and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) S. 3387, the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2008. Among other provisions, the bill would amend the Public Health Act to require the Director of the NIH to establish a new office to be known as the Pain Consortium. The Consortium would be required to (1) establish and maintain a national agenda for basic and clinical research on the causes and treatments of pain, (2) coordinate pain research and related training and other activities across programs at the NIH, (3) convene an annual conference, and (4) undertake other appropriate actions. The bill would also require the NIH Director to establish an advisory committee to the Consortium, known as the National Pain Care Research Advisory Committee. S. 3387 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S. 3408 - On July 31, 2008, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S. 3408, the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Act of 2008. The bill would establish a nonprofit corporation called the Health Care Comparative Effectiveness Research Institute to contract with appropriate Federal agencies or the private sector to conduct comparative effectiveness research. The Institute would be responsible for (1) establishing and carrying out a research project agenda [in carrying out a research agenda, Institute must give preference for contracts to Federal government agencies with experience in conducting CER], (2) establishing a methodology committee to develop scientifically-based methodological standards for comparative clinical effectiveness research [would be required to consult or contract with IOM, AHRQ, NIH (can contract with one or more) in developing and updating standards], and (3) ensuring that there is a process for peer-review of the research [Institute would be authorized to use existing peer-review processes used by entities with which the Institute contracts]. Provisions would also establish a Board of Governors comprised of 21 members, including the Secretary of HHS, the Director of AHRQ, and the Director of NIH, to oversee the Institute's activities. The legislation would create the Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury. Total funding for the first year (FY 2009) would be $5 million, and funding would increase to $300 million a year by the year 2013. Funding for the Institute would sunset after 10 years. S. 3408 was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

S.Res. 614 - On July 16, 2008, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) introduced this resolution, designating the month of August 2008 as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month.


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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