[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the Biden Administration’s nominee to serve as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Administrator, before her confirmation hearing in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Blumenthal praised Delphin-Rittmon’s work in Connecticut as the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Commissioner, including her commitment to equity, access, and community inclusion while fighting the opioid and mental health crises.
“If there’s a person in treatment, a person seeking treatment, a person in recovery, a person who needs someone to help them through the insidious disease of addiction, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon is there,” Blumenthal said. “And as Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, she will be there for the nation as she has been for the people of Connecticut.”
The full transcript of Blumenthal's remarks can be found below.
Thank you Chair Murray, Ranking Member Burr, members of the committee. I’m really so proud to be here today.
It’s bittersweet because for all the reasons that Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon will be a great assistant secretary, we will miss her in Connecticut.
And I was last here to introduce Dr. Miguel Cardona, the nominee for Secretary of Education. I almost want to say to President Biden, quit taking some of our best people, because Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon is one of the most valued and dedicated public servants in the state of Connecticut.
I want to speak personally because I’ve come to know and admire her personally. She is someone who shows up and she wears well. She may not be the splashiest person when you first get to know her, but the more you know her, the more you admire and respect and like her as a human being of tremendous training and professional expertise, but also someone who leads by example, leads with her heart as well as her head.
Talking about showing up, I’ve seen her at countless community forums and meetings with public officials, professional experts, but also recovering addicts and their families. And she is someone who knows how to communicate to raise awareness and support.
If there’s a person in treatment, a person seeking treatment, a person in recovery, a person who needs someone to help them through the insidious disease of addiction, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon is there. And as Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, she will be there for the nation as she has been for the people of Connecticut.
She knows that solving the problem of opioid and mental health crises in our country, we must meet people where they are at themselves. When she heard from the community about barriers to care, she deployed a mobile medication treatment program to high-need areas. When she heard that people were struggling to access care, she implemented a 24/7 toll-free access line to help people find access and through transportation assistance, she literally got to care for them in the way that they needed.
She has been the right person at the right moment for Connecticut, and I think she’s the right person for this job for our entire nation. She has a background as a clinical community psychologist and public servant who has dedicated her life to helping people who suffer from the disease and she more than anyone recognizes that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing, and mental illness which as I think everybody on this committee recognizes, is a problem that we have failed to give sufficient importance to treating.
And I know that she will be a continuing advocate for mental health parity which I have fought to recognize and I know members of this committee like Chair Murray and Senator Casey and others, Senator Baldwin have as well.
So I strongly recommend her to this committee. There’s no sugarcoating the problems that she has to address. They are herculean and they will require a commitment from the nation and from this president, which I know will be forthcoming, as well as from us in the United States Senate, and I am very, very grateful for the opportunity to introduce her and her husband Patrick to this committee. Thank you very much.