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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

House Introduces Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Companion Bill

December 11, 2014 | Addictions | Comments
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This week, six members of the House introduced their version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Introduced by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Tom Marino (R-PA), Karen Bass (D-CA), David Joyce (R-OH) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), this is a companion bill to the Senate version, S.2839, which was introduced in September. The legislation would provide a series of resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand drug treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts.

Like the Senate version, this legislation: expands prevention and education efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery; expands the availability of naloxone; expands resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders; launches an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program to expand treatment best practices; and strengthens prescription drug monitoring programs and expands disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications.

The House bill also includes a few minor changes from the Senate version, including:

  • Expansion of the good Samaritan provision, providing civil liability protection for first responders, health professionals, and family members administrating naloxone;
  • Specification that all spending shall be offset by a corresponding reduction in Federal discretionary spending; and
  • Prohibition of the creation of new programs for the purpose of this legislation.

“With this legislation, we have an opportunity to build on proven methods that enable law enforcement to respond to this epidemic and support long-term recovery by connecting prevention and education efforts with treatment programs,” said Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

“I am deeply concerned with the growth of heroin and prescription painkiller addiction across the nation. Something must be done at the federal level to address this issue and I believe the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is the answer,” said Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) “This legislation would look at the problem from all angles – from prevention efforts to overdose medication and recovery – in order to stem this epidemic which is taking the lives of 114 people per day.”

The National Council strongly supports this legislation. We commend Representatives Sensenbrenner, Scott, Marino, Bass, Joyce and Ryan for their attention to the important issue of substance use prevention and treatment, and pledge to work closely with them to advance this bill to passage.