Senate Responds to 'Urgent Drug Crisis'

‘A Similar Bill Introduced In 2014 Never Made It To The Senate Floor’

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “[T]he Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act . . . passed today with [an] overwhelming bipartisan vote. This legislation reflects the Senate at its finest, working in a bipartisan way, to address an awful epidemic that's gripping our country. . . Real lives will be saved because of the leadership of this bipartisan group.” (Sen. Grassley, Congressional Record, S. 1417, 3/10/2016)

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): “Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a victory for American families who are struggling with the disease of addiction.  We know that the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is tearing apart families and devastating our communities.  This bill will help more Americans put their lives back together and achieve their God-given potential.” (Sen. Portman, Press Release, 3/10/2016)

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH):For nearly two years, I've been pleased to work alongside Senators Portman, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar to build support for CARA, and I'm glad the Senate passed this important bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. . . CARA is a significant step forward in the federal response to this crisis, and I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this bill right away so we can take action to save lives in New Hampshire and across the country.” (Sen. Ayotte, Press Release, 3/10/2016)


‘The Senate … Overwhelmingly Passed A Broad Drug Treatment And Prevention Bill’

“Responding to an urgent drug crisis that has contributed to more American deaths than car crashes, the Senate Thursday overwhelmingly passed a broad drug treatment and prevention bill, the largest of its kind since a law in 2008 that mandated insurance coverage for addiction treatment. ‘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.’” (“Senate Passes Broad Bill to Combat Drug Abuse,” The New York Times, 3/10/2016)

“The Senate passed a major piece of legislation Thursday aimed at combating a growing heroin and prescription drug epidemic by an overwhelmingly bipartisan margin of 94-1.” (“Senate Passes Bill Addressing Heroin, Opioid Crisis,” RealClearPolitics, 3/10/2016)

CARA Helps ‘To Expand Treatment Efforts And Access To Overdose-Prevention Drugs’

“The legislation, known as the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, would allow the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide grants for states to expand treatment efforts and access to overdose-prevention drugs.” (“Senate Easily Passes Bill Addressing Opioid Abuse,” Roll Call, 3/10/2016)

  • “The Senate bill authorizes funding for state and local governments, as well as schools and nonprofits, to prevent and treat prescription drug and heroin abuse. It also would expand the availability of naloxone, a drug that can counter the effects of an overdose, and it makes special provisions to help prisoners, veterans, pregnant women and mothers fighting addiction.” (“Senate Passes Bill to Fight U.S. Opioid Epidemic,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/10/2016)

“Outside groups praised the bill’s passage, including the ‘doctor shopping’ provision that would allow Medicare to designate single prescribers for at-risk patients. ‘This provision will ensure Medicare patients get needed pain relief without being exposed to dangerous amounts of prescription drugs,’ said Cynthia Reilly, director of Pew’s prescription drug abuse project.” (“Senate Easily Passes Bill Addressing Opioid Abuse,” Roll Call, 3/10/2016)

‘Drug Overdose Is Now The Leading Cause Of Accidental Death In The United States’

“Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, surpassing car crashes, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Opioid abuse is the main problem, with nearly 19,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers and nearly 10,600 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014. The rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2000 to 2013 as many prescription drug abusers turned to the illegal drug as a cheaper alternative that is easier to get, the society said.” (“Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill To Combat Painkiller Abuse, Heroin Addiction,” USA Today, 3/10/2016)


Former Democrat Majority Never Made The Bill A Priority

“CARA sponsors have been fighting to bring the bill to the Senate floor since 2014.” (“Opioid Bill Passes U.S. Senate,” New Hampshire Union Leader, 3/10/2016)

SEN. GRASSLEY: “It is a shame the Democratic leader decided not to address this crisis at the early stage when he was deciding the agenda of the Senate, but he decided not to act . . . All the while, the Democratic leader never brought a bill to the floor to address the crisis.” (Sen. Grassley, Congressional Record, S. 1417, 3/10/2016)



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