Federal Health Care Law Could Mean Help For Mental Ilness And Substance Abuse In Tennessee

Dec 24, 2013

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Starting January 1st, the Affordable Care Act will include care for mental illness and substance abuse.

The US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that means all insurance plans must cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, prescription drugs, rehabilitative, prevention and wellness services. Pre-existing conditions will be included.

The US Department of Health and Human Services will also direct $50 million to regional community health centers to open and to expand services and treatment for mental illness and substance-abuse.

Tennessee consistently leads the national rankings of prescription drug abuse, and use rates in the state have doubled in the last 10 years. It's now the leading cause of accidental death in Tennessee:  in 2011, 1,062 people died from drug overdoses.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse reports that nationally, one in 10 people addicted to drugs or alcohol (about 20.7 million people) doesn’t receive treatment.