Note below is from our colleague Dennis Romero, the Regional Administrator

Dear Behavioral Health Colleagues,

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures
Act (Cures Act). The Cures Act is a sweeping piece of legislation that
changes the way the federal government regulates the drug industry and
provides mental health services. It also includes billions in medical
research funds. This important health law will, among other things,
enhance SAMHSA’s ability to achieve our mission to reduce the impact of
substance use and mental illness on America’s communities.

The Cures Act contains many provisions for HHS, including our partners at
NIH, FDA, and CMS. Specific to SAMHSA and behavioral health, this law spans
the continuum of prevention, treatment, and recovery support for
individuals with, or at risk for, mental and substance use disorders.

There are many key parts of the new law. Some of the most notable
highlights for SAMHSA are:

· Reauthorizes SAMHSA as a federal agency, and allows us to build
on and expand our programs;

· Elevates the role of the SAMHSA Administrator to the Assistant
Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, and the Principal Deputy
Administrator to the Deputy Assistant Secretary;

· Authorizes an additional $1 billion in grant funding to states
and territories over the next two years (starting in FY 2017) to combat the
prescription opioid and heroin epidemic

· Codifies the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality

· Codifies the Office of Policy Planning and Innovation (OPPI) as
the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory

· Codifies the Chief Medical Officer

· Reauthorizes SAMHSA’s Centers and Offices, our National Advisory
Councils, and Peer Review requirements

· Creates an inter-departmental coordinating committee on serious
mental illness, chaired by HHS

· Calls for Departmental collaboration on key initiatives such as
implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

This exciting new initiative will change the lives of millions of American
families dealing with, recovering from, or trying to prevent opioid use

This law necessitates additional actions by SAMHSA both the near and long
term. We are reviewing how to implement the many provisions of the Cures
Act in a timely, coordinated, and transparent manner. Over the coming
weeks, I plan to share more information as it becomes available.

As we recognize the historic nature of the 21st Century Cures Act and its
impact on the future of behavioral health, I am again reminded of the
dedication and commitment of the behavioral health field in Region II.
Your tireless efforts make the elevation of our work possible. I look
forward to our continued work together to implement this law.

Thank you for all you do each day to advance the behavioral health in our

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