Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Join Together News Service from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

The U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The New York Times reports the measure authorizes funds for various drug treatment and prevention programs for a wide range of people, including those in jail. Dozens of senators came to the Senate floor to praise the bill.

CARA expands prescription drug take-back programs and establishes monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The measure also calls for training and equipping first responders on the use of the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

“This is big and significant,” said Marvin Ventrell, the Executive Director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. “It had legs and interest because of the opioid crisis that has hit Middle America.”

The fate of a companion bill in the House is uncertain, the article notes.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted against an amendment to CARA that would have added $600 million in funding. Senate Republicans argued that there are potentially hundreds of millions available for CARA as part of the omnibus spending bill passed in late 2015.

CARA calls for spending as much as $80 million on treatment, prevention and recovery. It does not include actual funding, which would have to come through an appropriations bill.

In early March, the Obama Administration voiced concern over the lack of funding in the bill.

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    KR Hart

    April 15, 2016 at 1:40 AM

    Is this the bill that was co-written by the pharmicutical companies supplyimg the drugs to be used in the “medical treatment” of opiate addiction?

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    Dave Finch

    April 5, 2016 at 7:23 PM

    This legislation signifies an awakening to the need to move drug use and addiction issues out of the criminal justice system, a good thing, but promises to waste more money on people who are not ready for abstinence based treatment. As Dr. Carl Hart of Columbia says, we need more realistic education, not more treatment.

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    Bonnie

    March 15, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    This needs a tremendous amounts of funding. Most people needing treatment never get it.

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