Access to mental health care/ substance abuse and treatment

House District 11 Rep. Randall Shedd

House District 11 Rep. Randall Shedd

This is the third in a series of reports from Shedd on issues he is focusing on in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

Alabama is facing federal court action that requires our prison system to correct its lack of mental health care for inmates. I support solving that problem.

But we shouldn’t stop there! We have to address mental health issues for all residents of Alabama, not just our prison population.

Gov. Kay Ivey, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels will be leading the way in the coming 2020 legislative session for meaningful solutions to Alabama’s mental health problems.

It’s a priority this coming year. Rep. Ledbetter has assembled a working group, including some legislators to work on the issue before the session begins. The Cullman legislative delegation is heavily involved. I am honored to be a part of this working group.

This past legislative session, Sen. Garlan Gudger and I sponsored and passed a piece of mental health legislation that mental health professionals and probate judges told us would help. (Ed. – The legislation allows probate judges to renew an outpatient mental health commitment order for up to a year. Current law at the time did not allow renewal, even if the person needed it.) One thing we learned dealing with our legislative colleagues on that legislation is that they are hungry for solutions to our state’s mental health problems.

Hopefully, this is the year for access to meaningful health care. Substance abuse and treatment

Substance abuse is a national epidemic and has hit almost every family in our state. The heartache it has caused is unmeasurable.

A slew of federal funds are now available to address substance abuse. That’s good, but it also means we have to make sure they are used properly and for the right reasons. Funding needs to go for addiction treatment that has a successful track record, and we have a responsibility to see that it does.

We have to find mental health and substance abuse solutions, and this upcoming session is the opportunity. We don’t need to miss this opportunity to solve this problem.

Thank y’all for letting me represent you in Montgomery.