House of Representatives

Bill to Provide Patients with Local Resources for Addiction, Mental Health Struggles Passes House

3/6/2020 10:27:00 AM

Contact: State Rep. Sheila Dills
Phone: (405) 557-7331

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday to require hospital emergency rooms to provide information over local substance abuse recovery services and mental health services for every person seeking addiction treatment.

Authored by Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa), House Bill 2938 says the information will be gathered by the Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and distributed to nearby hospitals to be given to patients who visit the emergency room for substance abuse or mental health-related reasons.

Dills said the idea was brought to her by a constituent who works as an addiction counselor. His friend sought help from the emergency room while undergoing withdrawal from a heroin addiction, but was released due to lack of insurance and because heroin addiction withdrawal is deemed non-life-threatening.

However, when he was released from the emergency room, he was not provided any information or resources about where he could find help in his community.

“Given Oklahoma’s rankings for addiction and mental health, it’s really important for us to ensure we dot every i and cross every t,” Dills said. “We need to do absolutely everything we can to empower people suffering from addiction or mental health disorders and get them the help they need to recover and get back on their feet. This bill is a common sense step in the right direction.”

House Bill 2938 passed the House 92-0. The bill is authored in the Senate by Sen. Joe Newhouse (R-Broken Arrow), where it is now available to be considered.

Rep. Sheila Dills, a Republican, represents District 69 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes Bixby, Jenks and Tulsa.