The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), enacted in 2016, was a landmark law that ensured federal resources were devoted to evidence-based addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. CARA 2.0 was introduced in 2018 and included expanded funding and additional policies to increase access to services. Several provisions were ultimately incorporated into and enacted via the SUPPORT Act.
While CARA and the SUPPORT Act made major strides in expanding funding and support for substance use programs, more federal assistance is needed now more than ever. The COVID pandemic has exacerbated the addiction crisis and the CDC estimates that more Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020 than any other year.
CARA 3.0 would build on past efforts by increasing funding and instituting new policies to strengthen the federal government’s response to this ongoing crisis. It is an expansive bill encompassing funding, programs, and policies related to prevention, treatment and recovery. See the CARA 3.0 Section-by-Section Summary for a full list of the bill’s provisions.
While this legislation is quite comprehensive, it does not currently include funding for family support services, which are vital but in short supply. Another bill before Congress, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act (FSSAA), would create a much-needed grant program for community organizations and other nonprofits to provide family services. We support adding a similar provision within CARA 3.0 to create a dedicated funding stream for family support programs. When families are involved, informed, and supported, the outcomes for those with addiction are better.