State and territorial attorneys general have made it a priority to combat the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and to protect military service members from predatory lenders. Their efforts include law enforcement operations, state drug monitoring programs and education campaigns. 

Recent voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington legalizing the use of recreational marijuana have amplified the debate and the uncertain social and legal ramifications. The Future of Western Legislatures Forum featured industry perspectives and insights from officials about how their states are implementing these initiatives. The session also focused on state medical marijuana laws, including state program comparisons and challenges.

As we enter July, football programs across the country are ramping up efforts to prepare for the upcoming season. While this is business as usual for many coaches, this season will be the first after all 50 states have passed legislation pertaining to sports-related traumatic brain injuries.

Mississippi, in January 2014, became the last state to adopt legislation started by Washington in 2009. Washington’s...

The Council of State Governments Medicaid Policy Academy in Washington, D.C., June 18-20 provided attendees with important information about the many facets of the Medicaid program. Speakers at the sessions offered information beyond the sessions in video interviews.

Medicaid Role in State Budgets

Robin Rudowitz, associate director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, says Medicaid has a complicated role in state budgets.

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The feds are running a demo program that would allow Medicaid reimbursement for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. Medicaid currently does not reimburse for enrollees ages 21 to 64 for private inpatient psychiatric institutions. Because of this exclusion, enrollees will go to a general hospital’s emergency department. Even though an emergency department may not be equipped to properly treat an individual, they are required to accept everyone by federal law.

Federal Judge Rya Zobel issued a preliminary injunction yesterday overturning Gov. Deval Patrick’s ban of the sale of the FDA approved painkiller, Zohydro. She concluded “that the Commonwealth’s emergency order is preempted by federal law.” Further, she stated, "If the Commonwealth were able to countermand the FDA’s...

April 2014 ~ Stateline Midwest

Since 1996, states have had the authority under federal law to require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.In recent years, more and more legislatures have given serious consideration to using this authority, including a handful of states in the Midwest. Kansas and Minnesota are among the nine U.S. states with drug-testing laws already in place, and according to the Center for Law and Social Policy, at least 30 states considered bills last year (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota among them).

Just one day after Zogenix, the maker of the new painkiller Zohydro, filed a federal law suit challenging the Massachusetts ban of the drug, the first hearing was held Tuesday.  

U.S. District Court Judge Rya Zobel, according to the AP, indicated that the drug company may have a point....

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced yesterday, according to the Burlington Free Press, restrictions that will make it harder for doctors to prescribe the new FDA approved painkiller Zohydro. His announcement follows last week's ban of the drug by Massachusetts. 

After a community faces a violent tragedy—like Sandy Hook, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Tucson, Ariz.—members of the community and policymakers alike are thirsty for solutions. One program many communities are looking to is Mental Health First Aid.

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