CARA: ‘The Most Sweeping Drug Legislation In Years’

‘Public Health Advocates Have Lauded The Bill As A Crucial Policy Shift,’ ‘An “Extraordinary” Step Forward’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This is a comprehensive legislative response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic devastating Kentucky and our nation. I’m happy to see it on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 7/13/2016)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “This is a historic moment, the first time in decades that Congress has passed comprehensive addiction legislation, and the first time Congress has ever supported long-term addiction recovery. This is also the first time that we’ve treated addiction like the disease that it is, which will help put an end to the stigma that has surrounded addiction for too long. … CARA will help save lives, and help more Americans achieve their God-given potential.” (Sen. Portman, Press Release, 7/13/2016)

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): “Today marks a critical turning point for the New Hampshire families, advocacy groups, first responders and all other stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to get CARA passed with overwhelming support. This important legislation will bring a comprehensive approach to the opioid abuse epidemic and authorizes resources for treatment, prevention, recovery and first responders, as well as makes important policy changes that will better assist those who are struggling.” (Sen. Ayotte, Press Release, 7/13/2016)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “CARA takes a multipronged approach to face drug addiction head-on through increased prevention, education, treatment, recovery and law enforcement efforts. From the very start, this bill has been a bipartisan effort to tackle a nonpartisan problem. Getting CARA across the finish line in Congress has meant a lot of hard work and negotiations by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.” (Sen. Grassley, Pres Release, 7/13/2016)

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “This is a bipartisan bill to reform important programs and give a substantial boost to those fighting on the front lines of the opioid epidemic – which in my state is taking more lives annually than gun shots or car wrecks... I commend the co-sponsors of this legislation – Senators Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte, Sheldon Whitehouse and Amy Klobuchar for developing a consensus on how to attack this problem. The people in our states are counting on us, and I’m urging the President to sign this bill without delay.” (Sen. Alexander, Press Release, 7/13/2016)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): “In Rhode Island and communities across America, the addiction crisis touches people in all walks of life and claims far too many lives.  This legislation sees addiction for what it is—a disease in need of treatment.  It will help first responders, health care providers, family members, law enforcement, and everyone on the front lines of this crisis to care for those afflicted.  And it will support Americans walking the long but noble path of recovery.” (Sen. Whitehouse, Press Release, 7/13/16)


‘The Senate … Approved A Bill To Tackle The Nation’s Opioid Crisis’

“The Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to tackle the nation’s opioid crisis, sending to the president’s desk the most sweeping drug legislation in years...” (“Senate Approves Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis,” The New York Times, 7/13/2016)

“The measure, which passed, 92 to 2, would strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, largely by empowering medical professionals and law enforcement officials with more tools to help drug addicts.” (“Senate Approves Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction Crisis,” The New York Times, 7/13/2016)

  • “The legislation creates grants and other programs aimed at addressing drug abuse, especially heroin and opioids, a crippling problem that claims victims across racial, economic and geographic lines. There were more than 47,000 U.S. drug abuse fatalities in 2014 — double the death rate in 2000. Most of those deaths were from heroin or opioids, potentially addictive medications that are prescribed to kill pain. . . The government has estimated that more than 2 million Americans have opioid abuse problems, and nearly 500,000 more are heroin addicts.” (“Congress Sends Obama Compromise Drug-Abuse Bill,” The Associated Press, 7/13/2016)
  • “[T]he bill helps expand treatment in significant ways. For example, it allows nurses and physician assistants to treat people with addictions using medications, which is considered the evidence-based standard. ‘Treatment capacity is really a crisis. There just isn't enough,’ [National Council for Behavioral Health President Linda] Rosenberg tells [NPR]. ‘But what this bill does to address that — it expands the kinds of people who can prescribe medications for addictions. And that's a very big deal.’” (“Congress Approves Bill To Address Addiction As A Health Problem,” NPR, 7/13/2016)

“Public health advocates have lauded the bill as a crucial policy shift, recognizing addiction as a disease rather than a law enforcement problem.” (“Congress Sends First Major Opioids Bill To Obama's Desk,” The Hill, 7/13/2016)

“The bill was able to secure overwhelming congressional support ... after a conference of House and Senate members in recent weeks pushed up the bill's authorized spending levels more than $100 million higher than the previous $78 million annual proposal.” (“Opioid Bill Passes Final Congress Vote, Now Goes To President,” The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer, 7/13/2016)



Related Issues: Back to Work, Opioid Abuse, Health Care