Senate Votes to Begin Considering Bill Targeting Drug Addiction

The U.S. Senate voted 89-0 on Monday to begin considering the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would increase addiction treatment and prevention.

An amendment by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat, which would provide $600 million in anti-drug spending, seems unlikely to pass, the Associated Press reports. Republicans oppose the amendment, arguing Congress already has approved enough money for such programs that have not been spent.

CARA is sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a Democrat, and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican. The bill has bipartisan support and would expand prescription drug take-back programs and establish monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers.

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.

Senator Shaheen’s amendment calls for $600 million in emergency spending to fund prevention, treatment and recovery programs. The measure would provide $225 million to the states to expand prevention, evidence-based treatment, and recovery programs, as well as $200 million for state and local law enforcement programs, including drug treatment and education.