Alabama Local News

Substance-use Mental Health Treatment Bill Headed to Gov. Ivey in Alabama

Substance-use Mental Health Treatment Bill Headed to Gov. Ivey in Alabama

Montgomery, AL: A bill that would make way for the mental health treatment for the people suffering from substance-use disorder is headed to Governor Ivey’s desk.

Alabama lawmakers are hopeful that a new law, which was just passed by a house committee, will make it easier for more people with substance use problems to get help.

A number of Alabama senators thought this was so important that they presented identical bills, Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 359, to make it more likely that it would be signed into law through the legislative process. According to them, it might help people who need therapy for mental health problems.

“We wanted to make sure that we brought forth a bill this session that help tackle some of the issues related to mental health in our state,” says Rep. Russell Bedsole, who is a sponsor of HB359, the identical companion bill to SB240.

Either of these ideas would allow probate courts to consider drug abuse disorders along with mental health issues when deciding on involuntary commitments.

Bedsole has been a police officer for 25 years, and his most recent job was as division commander at the Shelby County jail. He has a personal link to the bill.

“We need the probate judge to be involved in the process, so this bill interjects the probate judge back into the process, if someone is justice involved, allows them to work along the district or circuit judge so hopefully they can come up with sort of the best approach,” Bedsole says.

Sen. Bill 240 is now on its way to Governor Ivey’s desk to be put into law.

“What we’re formally recognizing is that that can be a cooccurring diagnosis and the key point there and why that’s important is because our state has access to opioid settlement funds that could be possibly tapped into to help us treat someone who has a cooccurring diagnosis,” Bedsole says.

Reference: WBRC News Alabama

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