News and Headlines


Webinar | Important Behavioral Health Workforce Updates

This informational webinar (Thursday 12/7 from 12p-1p) will cover the work underway at OhioMHAS to grow the behavioral health workforce across the state.

OhioMHAS staff will outline the Behavioral Health Workforce Roadmap, including the timeline for implementation and the various resources available to recruit and retain professionals. The webinar will also highlight other work underway, including:

  • The Behavioral Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center within OhioMHAS
  • The Great Minds Fellowship, which provides financial support to college students pursuing careers in behavioral health fields, as well as post-graduation bonuses if they obtain employment in a Community Behavioral Health Center in the state.
  • Welcome Back, which provides Community Behavioral Health Centers with funding to use as sign-on bonuses to recruit employees who are returning to the field. 

Behavioral Health Regulatory Outlook: Fight Over Parity, Changes to Telehealth Spill into 2024

Parity will likely be the defining regulatory issue of 2024 as the behavioral health industry braces for the impact of the Biden administration’s to-be-finalized rule.

Still, there is plenty to sort out with just 44 days left in 2023. This includes other pending regulatory issues that could be addressed before the end of the year.

“The SUPPORT Act, Part 2, and MHPAEA will remain relevant in 2024,” Maeghan Gilmore, vice president of government affairs for the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, told Behavioral Health Business.

MHPAEA is short for the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, the cornerstone of federal parity laws.

What’s more, post-pandemic telehealth and controlled substance regulations could influence addiction treatment and psychiatric care access. Congressional action on electronic health record (EHR) implementation and regulation could likewise impact the tech stacks for all health care operators, especially behavioral health providers.


Schools Concerned About Student Accessibility to Marijuana Products

Area school districts are concerned the new legalization of marijuana may make it more available to teenagers, but most say their school policies are strong enough to withstand problems.

While marijuana is still not legal for people under the age of 21, the product is available in several forms, including gummies, THC, and vape cartridges. But vapes already are an issue for school districts, which can also contain nicotine.

In Ohio, tobacco products are not legal for people under the age of 21, so high school students who are caught with vapes can be disciplined under the district’s Code of Conduct.

According to a November 2023 survey from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of students using nicotine products dropped from 16.5% in 2022 to 12.6% in 2023, mostly due to a decrease in the number of kids using e-cigarettes. But those products remain the most popular among teenagers, with 7.7% of the students who use nicotine products using e-cigarettes.

The Ohio School Board Association is continuing to tell schools that under federal law, schools are drug-free workplaces, and Federal law still labels marijuana as an illegal drug.


Ohioans Vote to Legalize Recreational Marijuana by Passing Issue 2

Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Ohio after voters passed Issue 2. The proposed law passed with 56.79% of the vote, or 2.144 million voters out of nearly 3.8 million who had cast ballots in the race.

Issue 2 legalizes and regulates the cultivation, manufacturing, testing and the sale of marijuana to Ohioans 21 and up. It also legalizes home grow for Ohioans 21 and up with a limit of six plants per person and 12 plants per residence, and imposes a 10% tax at the point of sale for each transaction.

Ohio is the 24th state to legalize recreational use marijuana. Recreational marijuana remains illegal at the federal level and it is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

More than half of the United States population now lives in a jurisdiction where the possession and use of marijuana is legal, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Issue 2 establishes the Division of Cannabis Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce which will “regulate, investigate, and penalize adult use cannabis operators, adult use testing laboratories and individuals required to be licensed.”


New Federal Data Offers Snapshot of America’s Substance Use Crisis, Mental Health Needs

On Monday, HHS and SAMHSA released the results of the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report provides population-level intelligence about the behavioral health needs providers and policymakers must address.

The new survey data set shows that illicit substance use among adults in the U.S. is on the rise. However, this has not yet translated into increased rates of what researchers could classify as substance use disorder (SUD), which remained stable in 2022.

The NSDUH surveys people ages 12 and older. Researchers completed 71,369 interviews for a nationally representative data set in 2022. Year over year, the data show few dramatic increases or decreases in self-reported use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit substance use; substance use disorders; mental health conditions; suicidal thoughts and behaviors; and substance use and mental health treatment.

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