Friday, July 15, 2016

Senate Passes Addiction Treatment Legislation

Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed, by a vote of 92 to 2, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a significant first step in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. The Senate’s action on a conference committee report follows that of the House, which voted to adopt the report last week (407 to 5). The measure now goes to President Obama for his anticipated approval.

“We are encouraged by the bipartisan support for this legislation—it encompasses many critical first steps toward fighting the nationwide opioid use epidemic,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “But we cannot stop here. These programs must be fully funded to be effective. APA looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to curb this epidemic.”

When funded, CARA will provide grants to expand access to opioid overdose reversal drugs (such as naloxone) and support addiction treatment services, including those using buprenorphine and other medication-assisted treatments.

The legislation also will offer grants to community organizations to develop and enhance recovery services and link those services to other recovery support systems. Grants will be available to states for opioid abuse education, treatment, and recovery efforts, prescription drug monitoring programs, and efforts to prevent overdose deaths.

For more in Psychiatric News about Congressional action on opioid abuse, see “House Members Consider Best Options for Treatment, Prevention of Opioid Abuse.”

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