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Birmingham doctor testifies at Senate mental health hearing

Mental health has become a major focus of legislators in recent years – at the state and federal levels.

The topic took center stage Wednesday when Dr. Stephen Taylor of Birmingham testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee.

Taylor spoke specifically about the work that needs to be done in order to take on the mental health crisis occurring across the country.

Part of that work, he said, is combating the growing drug epidemic taking place within the United States.

“At a time of elevated death rates and medical complications associated with synthetic opioids like fentanyl, psycho stimulants like methamphetamine, and the non opioid veterinary tranquilizer, Xylazine, much more work needs to be done to create a sustainable and robust addiction care infrastructure,” he said. “One that addresses addiction as a preventable and treatable chronic medical disease.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a member of the HELP Committee, commended Taylor for his work and said that he hopes to continue working with him on mental health.

“Dr. Taylor is uniquely positioned to understand exactly the scope and extent of the incredible mental health crisis we are experiencing in this country,” said Tuberville (R-Auburn). “This crisis affects children and adults of all ages and walks of life.

“I’m incredibly proud to have someone like Dr. Taylor working on these issues in the great state of Alabama, and I look forward to partnering with him moving forward to help keep up those efforts.”

Taylor is completing his 13th season as medical director of the Player Assistance and Anti-Drug Program of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. He also serves as the chief medical officer of Pathway Healthcare’s Behavioral Health Division and is president-elect of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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