Feds freeze database for mental health, addiction programs

President Donald J. Trump speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday. This week, reports revealed the federal government's decision to freeze a database for mental health and addiction programs. Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI

Jan. 11 (UPI) — Federal officials have frozen a national registry for programs that reduce mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse, according to reports.

The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices includes a database of intervention programs that are considered to be scientifically valid and effective to promote mental health, treat addiction and prevent teen suicide.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which oversaw the NREPP, said the SAMSHA Policy Lab will assume its duties and “lead the effort to reconfigure its approach to identifying and disseminating evidence-based practice and programs.”

SAMHSA spokesman Brian Dominguez told the Washington Post the agency is working to “institute an even more scientifically rigorous approach to better inform the identification and implementation of evidence-based programs and practices.”

Federal officials have not explained why the registry was frozen.

Martha Yeide of Development Services Group, Inc., which did contract work for the NREPP, told Education Week her organization was told to stop work on the project six months before the contract was due to expire “for the convenience of the government, not for cost.”

Although SAMHSA says the agency will continue the NREPP’s work, the Washington Post says the registry has been frozen since September and there are 90 vetted programs that haven’t been added.

Catherine Tucker, president of the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling, told the Washington Post there doesn’t appear to be a valid reason to shut the registry down.

“NREPP is one of the most important tools we have. Nobody has a financial stake,”she said. “It’s an impartial, non-partisan, trustworthy source that represents thousands and thousands of hours of work.”


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