Trump administration freezes database of addiction and mental health treatments

Federal health officials have suspended a program that helps thousands of professionals and community groups across the country find effective interventions for preventing and treating mental illness and substance-use disorders.

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) is housed within the Health and Human Services Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The registry, which was launched in 1997, offers a database of hundreds of mental health and substance abuse programs that have been assessed by an independent contractor and deemed scientifically sound. Getting a program or therapeutic approach included in this registry amounts to receiving federal recognition as an evidence-based practice. Mental health and addiction specialists say they rely on this database as a key source for finding appropriate and effective therapies.

Since 2015, the registry has also included evidence that certain interventions do not work, which helps practitioners avoid wasting resources on those programs.

Administration officials confirmed that the contract for running the database has been terminated. A new entity will take over the program’s duties. A director for that group was announced Monday, but no other staff members are in place. Agency spokesman Brian Dominguez said Wednesday that the new entity is “working closely” with other parts of the agency to “institute an even more scientifically rigorous approach to better inform the identification and implementation of evidence-based programs and practices.”

Read more here.

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