D.C. Update: HHS announces new program to increase access to PrEP medication, upcoming webinar series on building the prevention workforce, and more
Meet the Member
Jennifer Smith, Region III Director
Jennifer Smith, who serves as Regional Director for Region III on the NASADAD Board of Directors, was first appointed Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) in March 2018 and reappointed in April 2019 under Governor Wolf’s second term. Prior to this, she served as Deputy Secretary for DDAP. Since assuming the role of Secretary, she has led the department’s focus on strengthening Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol treatment landscape by increasing drug take-back opportunities, launching Pennsylvania’s Get Help Now Hotline, and expanding access to naloxone in communities around Pennsylvania.
Alongside Governor Wolf and fellow Cabinet Members, Secretary Smith has worked tirelessly to ensure that fighting the opioid crisis remains a priority on the federal, State, and local levels. Under her leadership, the department has secured more than $160 million in federal grant funding to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic and maintains close collaboration with sister State agencies and local governments to establish innovative, nationally-recognized projects with the funding. Secretary Smith began her career with the commonwealth in 2004 in the Office of the Budget, beginning as an accountant and eventually becoming the office’s Director of Planning and Management in 2012 before beginning her tenure with DDAP.
Around the Agencies
FDA issues warning letters to companies illegally selling CBD products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued warning letters to 15 companies for illegally selling products that contain cannabidiol (CBD) in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). As described in the press release, the warning letters targeted companies that market CBD as products to treat disease, for therapeutic use in humans and/or animals, as dietary supplements, and adding CBD to human and animal foods. To date, the FDA has only approved one prescription drug that contains CBD, which is intended to treat severe forms of epilepsy. With limited scientific data on CBD, the FDA also published a revised Consumer Update regarding safety concerns that require further research. The FDA has requested responses within 15 working days with information detailing how the companies will correct the various violations.
HHS announces new program to increase access to PrEP medications
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the launch of a national program that will provide pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for individuals at risk of contracting HIV. When taken daily, PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV. However, many individuals are either unaware of the medication or can’t afford to pay for the prescription. The “Ready, Set, PrEP” program will cover 100% of PrEP medication prescription costs for individuals who test negative for HIV, have a valid prescription from their healthcare provider, and do not have insurance that covers prescription drugs. To learn more about the program click here.
In the News
Report finds decreasing racial disparities in the criminal justice system
The Council on Criminal Justice recently released a new report examining racial and ethnic disparities within the criminal justice system. The report expands on previous research, indicating a decrease in racial disparities, by examining the following data: national-level trends in disparity in probation, parole, jail, and prison populations; crime-specific changes in disparity in imprisonment rates; differences in disparity by race and sex; and how changes in reported offending rates and decisions at the key stages of criminal justice case processing have affected black and white imprisonment rates.
Key findings from the report indicated that from 2000 to 2016, racial and ethnic disparities declined across all justice-involved populations. The black-white State imprisonment disparity fell from 8.3-to-1 to 5.1-1, and the Hispanic-white parole disparity fell from 3.6-to-1 to 1.4-to-1. Additionally, black-white disparities in State imprisonment rates fell across all major crime categories, with the largest drop for drug offenses.
Upcoming Events
Informational webinar will discuss two new technical assistance opportunities for Medicaid agencies
The Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program’s (IAP) Substance Use Disorder program announced two new technical assistance events for Medicaid agencies. An information session will be held on Tuesday, December 17th at 2:00 p.m. EST and States will have the opportunity to learn about the two upcoming events and ask questions. The first learning opportunity will focus on medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and participating States will focus on methods to improve and expand MAT delivery services. The second opportunity focuses on substance use disorder (SUD) data dashboards, and States will work to design or update their dashboards for internal and external audiences. To register for the informational webinar click here.
Upcoming webinar series on building the prevention workforce using SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework
The Central East Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) announced a new six-part webinar series titled, “Building the Prevention Workforce Skill-Base: Overview of the Strategic Prevention Framework and the Importance of Ethics in Prevention.” The series is intended to support and build the capacity of the prevention workforce through a skill building training using the five stages of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). The series will also cover topics including ethical approaches to prevention, prioritizing data, and how to modify programs. The webinars will be held at 1:00pm EST on December 17th, January 28th, February 20th, March 16th, and March 26th.
New England PTTC webinar to launch marijuana prevention toolkit
The New England Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC), serving as Chair of the PTTC Network Marijuana Risk Work Group, announced a new webinar that will be held on December 9th at 12:00pm EST. The webinar will include a detailed overview of four products that were recently released as part of the Marijuana Prevention & Education Toolkit. Participants will also learn about the goals and intended uses for each product and tips and pointers for implementation. The remainder of the webinar will consist of a listening session where participants can share issues and challenges related to marijuana prevention with staff from the New England PTTC. Registration for the webinar can be found here.
HRSA webinar on Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced a new funding opportunity for the Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program. The purpose of the program is to expand the number of fellows at addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry fellowship programs who are trained as addiction medicine specialists. Participants of the program will work in underserved, community-based settings that integrate primary care with mental health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services. HRSA also announced a technical assistance webinar for potential applicants that will be held on December 6th from 11:00am-12:30pm EST. The webinar can be accessed here.
NASADAD | 202-293-0090 | nasadad.org

One Responses

  • Hello- Does anyone know how we can register for the upcoming SPF workforce webinars? The December 3rd has passed and I didn’t see a link to register for the others.


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