38 state attorney generals across America have banded together to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose home state is facing a huge uptick in opiate use, told the Associated Press that the nationwide epidemic demands a comprehensive response. Advocates say the act will arm states with the necessary tools to effectively confront the growing crisis of addiction – primarily to opiates and crystal meth – that has recently surged to epidemic proportions in communities across Midwestern states such as Ohio and Indiana.
Addiction does not discriminate, and unfortunately, opiate addiction has become more prevalent in recent years. Advocates consider the Act an urgently needed response to a growing epidemic of drug addiction across America, which affects families irrespective of race, income, and other demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death by drug overdose now surpasses car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 64.
CARA is the most expansive federal, bipartisan legislation addressing addiction ever introduced to Congress. Meant to provide monetary support and public policy changes for addiction support services, the bill designates up to $80 million toward advancing treatment and recovery support services in support of state and local communities across the country. The act will provide tools to bolster prevention and educational efforts, while also expanding the availability of the drug naloxone, which is used to to help save lives of addicts who overdose on heroin and other opiates. It will also provide funding to launch evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and fund intervention programs to assist in treatment and recovery.
The bill has been introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives and it was first introduced in September 2014, and then reintroduced in the 114th Congress in February 2015. Unfortunately, it is currently stalled in the Senate and House Judiciary committees, and it’s under review as well by the House Education & Work Force and Energy & Commerce committees.
What can you do to help speed the bill towards its passage? As a citizen, you can call or email your Senator & Representative and urge them to support CARA.