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Statement on the Administration’s Decision to Transfer Funds From SAMHSA in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

National Council for Behavioral Health President and CEO Chuck Ingoglia recently issued this statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to transfer $4.9 million from substance abuse and mental health programs to fund its coronavirus response:

“The quickest way to interrupt progress in the fight against the opioid epidemic is to take funding away from the programs intended to help those with a substance use disorder.

“Transferring these funds will harm those who rely on the substance use treatment and substance use prevention programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and complicate national efforts to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic. While the amount of money in question may seem small, people will suffer because SAMHSA plays a vital role in the fight against the opioid epidemic and in efforts to address our mental health crises.

“The administration’s decision is ironic in light of its 2017 declaration that the opioid epidemic represents a public health emergency.

“We urge the administration to find a new source of funding to help the nation’s response to the spread of coronavirus. Just because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to transfer SAMHSA funds at the president’s request does not mean it should.

“A transfer of SAMHSA funds also sets a precedent, and it’s not difficult to imagine the administration misappropriating SAMHSA funds again.”

Source: National Council for Behavioral Health