Mental health and drug addiction are often co-occurring disorders, with a big impact. I have been working on commonsense, bi-partisan solutions to these problems since my days on the city council.
As a member of the Mental Health Caucus, I serve on several committees that deal directly with these issues, including Assembly Health Committee and the Select Committee on Health Care Delivery & Universal Coverage. I am also a member of the Stanford 5 Year Initiative on Neuroscience, a working group that fosters communications between policymakers and researchers regarding mental health and opioid addiction.
This session I introduced legislation to strengthen the voice of local mental health boards to help meet the needs of the mentally ill and a bill to allow payment to substance use providers in every county. In addition, I have joined with Assembly Republicans to support expanding current programs providing loan repayment for physicians and mental health providers who practice in underserved areas, including rural parts of this region.
Previously, my legislation to extend the sunset date for assisted outpatient treatment for severely mentally ill persons was signed by Gov. Brown and I authored bills for mental health and addiction treatment to women charged with misdemeanors; to incentivize more doctors to become certified to prescribe Medically Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use; to create a plan for a 21st century substance use disorder workforce; to assist counties treating the estimated 72% of mentally ill inmates who suffer from substance use disorders; and to create a public education program about heroin and opioid medication abuse – the Heroin & Opioid Public Education (HOPE) Act.
Those suffering with mental illness and substance abuse can turn their lives around. There is a lot of work to do. By making access to treatment available and affordable while reducing stigma, we can restore lives.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.