One week ago today, the Senate passed a bill by a 94-1 vote providing funds to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
The bill, the Comprehensive Addictions and Recovery Act (S.524), otherwise known as CARA, allows $600 million in grant funds "for treatment and recovery services, alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders, law enforcement initiatives[,] and programs to prevent overdose deaths and improper prescriptions." Recovery programs covered by the grants will be "evidence-based" to ensure efficacy.
As Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, says, "addictions to painkillers, heroin and alcohol are chronic diseases just like diabetes or heart disease" that "[take] millions of lives," meaning that "the only way to attack a crisis of this magnitude...takes time, commitment, patience and yes, money." If the House now approves the bill, the funds could enable a large-scale proliferation of programs to mitigate addiction and loss of life to heroin and other opioid substances.