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Bill to Expand Mental Health Treatment for Substance Use Disorders Moves Forward

By:Sharla Fletcher/WDNews/April 28,2024/8:30A.M CDT

Alabama – (WDNews)A bill making its way to Governor Ivey’s desk in Alabama could be a game-changer for those battling substance use disorders. Sponsored by several lawmakers, including Rep. Russell Bedsole, the legislation aims to address mental health issues alongside substance abuse.

The proposed law, comprising Senate Bill 240 and House Bill 359, empowers probate judges to consider both substance abuse and mental health concerns for involuntary commitments. This holistic approach seeks to ensure individuals get the comprehensive support they need.

Rep. Bedsole, drawing from his 25 years in law enforcement, emphasizes the personal significance of this legislation. Having witnessed the challenges faced by those with mental health issues in the criminal justice system, he advocates for bridging the gap to access treatment.

The bill acknowledges the co-occurrence of substance abuse and mental health disorders, opening avenues for utilizing opioid settlement funds for treatment. With this recognition, it aims to provide tailored support to individuals with complex diagnoses.

As Senate Bill 240 awaits Governor Ivey’s signature, its passage could mark a significant step forward in enhancing mental health care accessibility for those grappling with substance use disorders in Alabama.