Attention Nevada Recovery Community Members:
CARSON CITY, NV — By a vote of 37-5, the Nevada Assembly passed Assembly Bill 194 requiring individual licensure of peer recovery support. If this bill becomes law, any person providing peer mentorship, coaching, or support will need to demonstrate competency to do so or their qualification for an exemption. Otherwise, they will be committing a crime.
The Certification of Behavioral Healthcare Peer Recovery Support Specialists bill was introduced and sponsored by Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D – Assembly District 1, North Las Vegas).
This sweeping legislation broadly captures all peer mentoring and coaching by requiring non-clinical, non-professional recovery support to be licensed by the state. The Board of Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors (BEDAG) will have exclusive authority over the new license regardless of where peer support may be provided.
The Assembly did not address the legal and financial impacts of this bill. The Board (BEDAG) estimates the cost of implementing this new license to be $100,000 over two years. This cost will be paid by BEDAG’s other licensees including LCADC’s until such time there are enough qualified persons for this new license category.
Current peer supports will need to demonstrate that they qualify for an exemption or prepare to be licensed. This overreaching bill will prohibit the availability of vital volunteer recovery referrals and services to people who desperately need help.
This new license will not increase peer recovery support in Nevada. Although the language is made to sound harmless – the impact is crippling.
Beyond the technical failures of this bill – the notion that recovery occurs only under the licensed scrutiny of the state perpetuates the harmful stigma that people in recovery are never capable of self-directing care. Further, that people offering Peer Support should be closely supervised to ensure they are following a strict treatment protocol. This is the opposite of what effective peer support is.
This bills presence and passage by the Assembly shows how little our lawmakers understand the role of peers, volunteers, mentors and coaches in recovery-oriented systems of care.
A few of the Highlights:
- Creates a mandatory license and grants exclusive power to BEDAG (Board of Drug, Alcohol, and Gambling Counselors) to determine what peer recovery support, mentoring, coaching, education, mutual aid supports or role modeling is and who is qualified to provide it.
- Defines Peer-to-Peer services as Nonprofessional, nonclinical assistance to a person diagnosed with a substance use or other mental disorder. These Services include; Mentoring, coaching, education, or role modeling and “any other, the Board may prescribe by regulation.” This definition casts a wide net that will include volunteer services as provided by Veterans, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Community Health Organizations, Recovery Community Organizations, Prison reentry mentors, Faith Based supports, mutual aid groups and anywhere a peer would provide assistance to another peer.
- Criminalizes assistance to recovery services and mandates an addiction or mental health diagnosis for recovery services. Those seeking help would need to have seen a Doctor and been diagnosed before anyone can provide services or suggestions for help.
- Prohibits early intervention services to at risk youth without a diagnosis.
- Creates a $100,000 unfunded mandate.
RECOVERY TESTIMONIES NEEDED TO OPPOSE NEVADA ASSEMBLY BILL 194 on MONDAY:
On behalf of thousands of individuals and families in Nevada impacted by addiction, Foundation for Recovery invites you to lend your story to legislators this Monday as they consider implementing Assembly Bill 194 — a harmful policy that will restrict peer recovery support services through expensive, mandatory licensing and require that people offering peer support should be closely supervised to ensure they are following a strict treatment protocol. This is the opposite of what effective peer support is!
Our stories will provide policy makers with the proof that recovery DOES NOT OCCUR only under the licensed scrutiny of the state and that people in recovery ARE capable of self-directing care. Please click the link below for meeting dates/times and to learn how you can attend and participate virtually.
To testify against this bill: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/
If you can’t testify this Monday, you can still AB 194 ACT NOW: contact your Senator and tell them that you support self-directed, community supported recovery. Please take a few minutes out of your day to contact your Senators. Let them know that you are concerned about the unintended consequences of this bill and that you strongly oppose passage of AB194. A strong, united voice can influence this public policy issue that can impact our health and access to care. By acting now you can prevent a potentially harmful policy from reaching implementation.
A sample letter or email can be found below. Feel free to edit or pass along to those who care about peer support services in Nevada.
In addition to an email or phone call you can post your comments regarding this legislature directly on the Nevada Legislature website
Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Members:
- Chairman Senator Kelvin.Atkinson@sen.state.nv.us
- Vice-Chair Senator Pat.Spearman@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Yvanna.Cancela@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Nicole.Cannizzaro@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator James.Settelmeyer@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us
- Senator Heidi.Gansert@sen.state.nv.us
Remind your Senators that:
This bills presence and passage by the Assembly shows how much our lawmakers need to know about recovery support and community driven recovery oriented systems of care. This bill has the exact same flawed language from 2015’s AB 85, which failed in favor or more reasonable language in Senate Bill 489. This old bad idea has gotten worse with age despite successful implementation of SB 489. Peers currently have a certification program in its infancy that seems to be working for all stakeholders.
Don’t break a system that is already working with this flawed legislation.