Emergency Responses to Substance Misuse, Mental Illness

Michael C. Barnes, JD spoke today at the Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority Conference in Durant, Oklahoma. Mr. Barnes’ presentation, “Compassion and Common Sense: Emergency Responses to Substance Abuse and Mental Illness,” provided information on the nation’s overdose crisis and delved into some of the major initiatives that have been undertaken at the federal and local levels to address it. Mr. Barnes discussed warm handoff programs, which transition a patient with substance use disorder (SUD) from an intercept point to treatment once the patient is stable; the use of naloxone to reverse overdoses; and privacy issues such as HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, which affect disclosure of overdose incidents. He then highlighted the use of telehealth programs and mobile medical services to treat individuals with SUDs. The presentation also touched on pre-arrest diversion programs, which give officers discretion to divert individuals who commit low-level, nonviolent misdemeanor offenses out of the criminal justice system, as well as how state civil commitment laws apply to individuals with SUDs. Mr. Barnes ended the presentation by discussing how to overcome some of the major barriers to implementing and sustaining such programs.

Mr. Barnes is a member of the All American Speakers Bureau.