The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) bill moved to the Senate floor this week.
The bill authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 28,000 Americans died due to opioids (including heroin and prescription drug abuse) in 2014, a 200 percent increase since the year 2000. The prescription drug abuse and heroin overdose epidemic is a major national problem that requires a truly comprehensive, coordinated, federal response that adequately and effectively includes prevention, treatment, overdose reversal, recovery support, and law enforcement/criminal justice reform.
“Any one strategy alone will not be enough to fully respond to the crisis of opioid abuse and overdoses, which is why CARA is so crucial to this effort. CARA establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, balanced approach through enhanced grant programs that include a mix of effective strategies across all of the pillars that are needed to reduce drug use, abuse, addiction, and overdose: prevention, treatment, overdose reversal, recovery, support, and law enforcement/criminal justice reform,” said CADCA’s Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean.
The bill includes all four pillars – prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement – necessary for a comprehensive approach to this major drug abuse problem, and includes CADCA’s recommended provision that provides for a community-based enhancement grant program for communities to tackle their local prescription drug/heroin crises.
Working with the more than 5,000 coalitions around the United States, CADCA has been at the forefront of efforts to prevent, reduce, and combat the scourge of prescription drug abuse and heroin overdose deaths for more than 10 years.
CADCA’s partners at the Addiction Policy Forum have been encouraging coalitions to contact their senators to ask them to support the bill and its funding. Please continue to do so.