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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Reintroduced in Both House, Senate

February 18, 2015 | Addictions | Comments
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Last week, members in both chambers of Congress reintroduced legislation aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act invests much needed funding in prevention, evidence-based treatment and recovery supports to help Americans struggling with addiction to heroin or narcotic painkillers.

This legislation, authored by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), provides desperately needed funds to support community-based addiction treatment. It fosters the use of alternatives to incarceration for offenders in need of treatment. And it expands prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, aging populations and parents and other caretakers—to prevent the abuse of heroin and other opioids and to promote treatment and recovery.

“To help Americans struggling with drug addiction, we must get beyond a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach,” said Senator Portman. “We need a comprehensive strategy that starts from the bottom up. This legislation builds on proven methods to enable law enforcement to respond to this heroin epidemic and supports long-term recovery by connecting prevention and education efforts with treatment programs.”

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, I understand the damage substance abuse inflicts upon the nation. In my state of Ohio, fatal drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death since 2007. Heroin and opiate addiction is destroying lives, disrupting families and destabilizing communities – it is imperative that we begin to stem this tide. The provisions in this legislation are proven to work and I call on Congress to act now and pass this important legislation,” said Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) who introduced a companion bill in the House with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).

In the House, Representatives Ryan and Sensenbrenner were joined by Tom Marino (R-PA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), David Joyce (R-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) as original cosponsors of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. In the Senate, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) joined as original cosponsors. We commend these legislative champions 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.