Sen. Rob Portman’s Bi-Partisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Heads to President’s Desk to Combat Opioid & Heroin Epidemic
Note: the following was adapted from a forwarded email by Jo Frayer in the ODRC, Northeast Regional Office regarding the announcement of the new CARA law.
I wanted to make sure you saw the release below about the passage of Senator Portman’s bi-partisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) yesterday 92-2.
This bill, which is now heading to President Obama’s desk, is a fundamental shift in American drug policy that will provide much needed resources toward prevention, enforcement, treatment, and recovery in Ohio.
It is a culmination of input from many stakeholders in our community over the past few years that will save lives and help break the cycle of addiction. This drug epidemic has no boundary, and we must continue to work together.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on social media via Twitter with @SenRobPortman by using the hashtag #CARA. Please also let me know if you’d like to provide a quote of support. I’ve copied a one-page policy document for your convenience to share with your colleagues.
I will be following up with you soon regarding the next steps.
Until then, please do not hesitate to call me with questions or thoughts.
Thank you for your continued leadership.
Central Ohio District Director and General Counsel
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (OH)
37 West Broad Street, Room 300
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Portman Press Release
From: Portman Press
Subject: Portman, Whitehouse, Ayotte, Klobuchar Cheer Final Passage of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act
Portman, Whitehouse, Ayotte, Klobuchar Cheer Final Passage of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act
Senate clears bill to promote prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid addiction
Fundamental shift in American drug policy heads to President’s desk to be signed into law
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate adopted the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) conference report, giving final approval to legislation that addresses the addiction crisis unfolding throughout the country through new programs to prevent and treat addiction, and support those in recovery. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who authored the Senate version of the bill that passed in March, applauded the chamber’s 92-2 vote to pass the merged House-Senate bill.
“Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a victory for American families who are struggling with the disease of addiction,” said Portman. “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. Thanks to valuable input from law enforcement, doctors, advocates, patients in recovery, and drug experts in the administration, CARA will help save lives, and help more Americans achieve their God-given potential. And I want to thank Senators Whitehouse, Ayotte, and Klobuchar for their leadership and partnership on this important issue.”
“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,” said Whitehouse. “I am proud to have worked with brave men and women in our recovery community and all the stakeholders who shared their knowledge and experience as we crafted this legislation. Now we must move quickly to ensure we have the funding in place for this bill to fully achieve its objectives.”
In Ohio in 2015, 2,744 people lost their lives to overdoses—more than the number of those killed in homicides, suicides, and car accidents combined. That same year, 439 people in New Hampshire were lost to a drug overdose, while the most recent figures for Rhode Island and Minnesota stand at 258 and 571, respectively.
“I have been proud to work with Senators Whitehouse, Portman, and Klobuchar on this bipartisan bill, and I’m thankful for their continued leadership,” said Senator Ayotte. “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. I have also been proud to consistently call for and support the significant funding increases approved by the Appropriations Committee for initiatives that align with the evidenced-based programs outlined in CARA. I urge the President to immediately sign this bill into law so we can get these critical resources to New Hampshire.”
“As a former prosecutor, I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by opioid abuse in communities across the country. In Minnesota alone, overdose deaths rose by 11 percent in just one year,” Klobuchar said. “After today’s vote, this important legislation goes to the President’s desk for his signature. And while there is more work to do on funding these initiatives and strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs, with this legislation, families and communities will have more resources to save lives and begin to reverse this deadly trend.”
Beginning in 2014, as part of the process of drafting their bill, Portman, Whitehouse, and Ayotte hosted five national forums with members of both the House and Senate highlighting various aspects of addiction and recovery—including the science of addiction, addiction and the criminal justice process, women and addiction, the collateral consequences of addiction, addiction and youth, and treatment and recovery in the veteran community. Each forum brought together experts and practitioners from the prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and recovery communities to share best practices in their fields from across the United States.
In addition to hearing from stakeholders, the Senate co-authors of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act worked closely with a “working group” of organizations to craft legislation that would address the substance abuse crisis in a comprehensive manner. The working group consisted of over 100 organizations—including the National Council on Behavioral Health, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Major County Sheriffs, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and many others. The objective was to write a bill designed to incentivize evidence-based best practices and promote collaboration among all too often silo-ed areas of expertise. The final conference report has gained the support of nearly 250 organizations.
A full summary of the final conference report can be accessed here.
What Ohio Anti-Drug Advocates Are Saying
About Senator Portman’s Leadership on CARA
July 13, 2016 I View Online
By an overwhelming 92-2 bipartisan vote, the Senate today passed Senator Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA), which will combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic in Ohio and around the country. This bipartisan bill will now be sent to the president for his signature. When signed, it will immediately begin to help save lives. Here’s what Ohio’s anti-drug advocates are saying about Senator Portman’s leadership on this issue:
“The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) will be a tremendous help to Ohio communities and families struggling with the effects of drug addiction. I want to thank Ohio Senator Rob Portman who has been a leader in getting the CARA bill passed. I know this bill will make a difference for those who are addicted to opiates and their families.” – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
“The Greater Cincinnati region is continuing to see rises in mortality and morbidity related to opiate Substance Use Disorders. This disease knows no family or community boundaries. As a regional prevention coalition, we work closely with communities to bring partners together to attack this crisis upstream and from all angles. Passage of the CARA bill will bring focused resources to comprehensively address prevention, treatment, and recovery from this disease. By addressing contributing factors with evidence-based programs, practices, and policies, we can have the level of collective impact necessary to turn the trajectory of the opioid problem around. We appreciate Senator Portman’s leadership, as well as the entire House and Senate’s support of CARA and efforts to prevent and combat addiction.” – Mary Haag, RN, OCPSII, President & CEO of PreventionFIRST!
“Senator Portman understands that first responders are often on the front line of the heroin epidemic, and CARA will make a real difference. He spent time with us in Dayton recently to help launch Montgomery County Drug Free Coalition’s front door initiative so that law enforcement can quickly connect those suffering from addiction to effective treatment options. We anticipate this program will be expanded through CARA. CARA will also help provide naloxone and training to help officers who respond to an overdose situation. We thank Senator Portman for his tireless efforts and are pleased that this bill is on its way to the President so that it will swiftly become law.” – Phil Plummer, Montgomery County Sheriff
“The passage of CARA will allow community based addiction providers, such as CommQuest, to greatly expand access to care. This will afford more individuals the opportunity to receive treatment at a time and place that is quicker and closer to home. Our organization applauds the effort of our lawmakers in making a substantial investment to combat this epidemic.” – Keith Hochadel, President & CEO, CommQuest Services, Inc.
“Heroin and prescription opioids continue to have a deadly and devastating impact here in Ohio. As the number of overdoses rise, it is imperative that we bring in resources to help stop the overdoses and also help get treatment for those who are addicted. CARA expands the use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and is the first piece of legislation to recognize that addiction is a public health crisis, not a moral failing.” – Shawn A. Ryan, MD, MBA. President and CMO, BrightView; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Cincinnati
“Research and best practices are critical components of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Substance use treatment that is proven to work particularly in the area of the opiate crisis will inform our work as we increase success with ex-offenders and others struggling with addiction.” – Neil Tilow, President & CEO of Talbert House
“We protect our children from auto accidents with seatbelts, from sunburn with sunblock and from biking injuries with safety helmets. We need to do something to protect them from addiction. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. This is a truly innovative and ground-breaking piece of legislation that will make a substantial difference in this battle against addiction. It will reduce crime and increase productivity. And most importantly, it will reduce the number of families that are torn apart by this epidemic. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Rob Portman and all who support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).” – Larry Moliterno, President / CEO, Meridian HealthCare
“The opiate epidemic is on the rise and has hit all areas of our community. It has provided numerous challenges to our entire community, including suburbs, younger adults and pregnant women. As we explore prevention, treatment and community education options as a result of this public health crisis, we must continue to work together to eradicate this disease. We commend Senator Portman for his leadership in passing CARA and on the fight against drug addiction.” – David Royer, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County
“We at the House of Hope in Columbus want to thank Senator Portman for his leadership in the passage of the CARA bill. Senator Portman recently met with the men in our program who are in recovery and it was clear that CARA will help them and others struggling with addiction.” – Carolyn Ireland, CEO, House of Hope
“As Central Ohio’s oldest and most comprehensive behavioral healthcare provider specializing in the treatment of addictive illness, Maryhaven strongly supports CARA. Maryhaven has been in business since 1953, and has never seen a pattern of drug use as troubling as the current use of opiates; in the six counties, both rural and urban, that Maryhaven serves it is a significant problem. Opiate use has risen all over Central Ohio: in 2002, 38 percent of Maryhaven patients told us opiates were their drug of choice; in 2015, 75 percent of Maryhaven patients told us that. We are grateful for the leadership for Senator Portman in moving this bill forward, as well as for the bipartisan support it has received.” – Paul H. Coleman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Maryhaven
“Thank you Senator Portman for your leadership in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bipartisan bill that will help us in our work toward saving lives through prevention, treatment, and recovery. The families in Crawford, Wyandot, and Seneca Counties who are struggling with opiate and heroin addiction will benefit from this important legislation.” – Sarah Carman, County Coordinator, United We CAN – Ohio CAN
“The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers is grateful that with the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the Congress has acted to help people prevent, treat, and recover from addiction. We’re proud of Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s multi-year leadership to pass this leading-edge legislation and to bring overdue attention to eradicating the disease of addiction.” – Lori Criss, Associate Director, The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers
“We are so thrilled about this movement and the passing of CARA. This legislation will be a milestone for years to come and as a result, millions of people all over the country will benefit. We thank Senator Portman for all his hard work in passing CARA.” – Sarah J. Thompson, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery
“The Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) is not just a piece of legislation. CARA is the realization of the entire recovery movement; all the Recovery Month marches, the celebrations of lives saved and lost, and the newly empowered voices of those in recovery and those who still need it. CARA is the culmination of an American culture shift that has now driven real policy change. As the most comprehensive effort of bipartisan legislation for addiction recovery support services, CARA is not only a victory for people in recovery, but for a victory for our country. Thank you Senator Portman for championing this important effort.” – Sarah Nerad, Program Manager for the Ohio State Collegiate Recovery Community
“Drug Free Action Alliance is extremely happy with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) passage in Congress. The bill, which was championed by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, provides vital funding for prevention, addiction and recovery services to continue to turn the tide on the opiate epidemic that Ohio is continuing to fight. With research showing that every dollar spent on drug prevention leading to a ten dollar savings to society, we are excited that CARA will provide much needed resources for prevention coalitions but also increases access to treatment for those who have a substance use disorder and supplies recovery resources for individuals across the state. We know that the attention put on this devastating issue will reap benefits that will give Ohio safer neighborhoods, healthier citizens and a bright future for growth.” – Marcie Seidel, Executive Director, Drug Free Action Alliance
“In our 40-year history of providing evidence-based treatment and prevention services to Southeastern Ohio residents, Health Recovery Services has recognized the value and effectiveness of coordinated community efforts to combat the rising tide of addiction and its related issues that we have experienced in recent years. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. This is exactly the kind of support our communities need at a critical juncture in our efforts to combat the unprecedented devastation and loss of life among our friends, neighbors and loved ones caused by the relatively recent explosion of opiate and prescription drug abuse that has gripped our region of Ohio. We applaud Senator Rob Portman’s leadership on this legislation and strongly encourage the passage of CARA.” – Joe R. Gay, Ph.D., L.I.C.D.C., Executive Director, Health Recovery Services, Inc.
“The Jackson County Drug Task Force strongly supports the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act as it would provide needed resources for prevention and treatment programs in Jackson County. We appreciate Senator Portman’s work on this important issue, and look forward to continuing to work with his office.” – Kevin Aston, Chair of the Jackson County Drug Task Force
“The Recovery Center is grateful to Senator Portman for his leadership and perseverance in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act which will provide individuals and families with the opportunity to become healthy, safe and whole so they can reach their life’s potential. CARA will also provide necessary resources to help prevent addiction issues for our youth through evidence based prevention programming which has taken a backseat to the crisis we have been dealing with for too long. We look forward to working with Senator Portman and our state officials as we bring more people into recovery.” – Trisha Farrar, CEO, The Recovery Center in Fairfield County
“We applaud Senator Portman for his leadership on the CARA Bill. We are looking forward to the final passage of this new initiative to help us address the ever growing opiate epidemic in Southeastern Ohio. The funding made available by this legislation will enable our system of care to prevent heroin overdose deaths through the increased availability of Naloxone, to increase access to recovery and treatment services and to expand medication assistance treatment programs. We hope that this much needed funding will be available to our region as soon as possible. Too many people are dying every day from this opiate epidemic.” – Bill Dunlap with the Athens – Hocking – Vinton Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services 317 Board.
“Ohio is among the hardest hit in our nation in the growing opioid epidemic, with fentanyl and other dangerous drugs becoming more widespread on the streets. There is an urgent need, now more than ever, for greater access to the antidote naloxone. The CARA act will help make that possible and allow us to continue saving the lives of so many people living with addiction.” – Joan Papp, MD, emergency medicine physician at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center and Medical Director of Project DAWN
“The Pearl House and the families that it serves who are recovering from opiate and substance abuse want to thank Senator Portman for his leadership and commitment in passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). CARA will help Lancaster and Fairfield County by providing much needed resources and reinforcements to the local level in the fight against drug addiction. We look forward to working with Senator Portman to continue this important mission that will save lives.” – Jennifer Walters, President, Fairfield Homes / Pearl House developer