Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bill aimed at providing states with the necessary tools to combat the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse that has plagued the nation recently. The legislation passed with only one vote in opposition, and a companion bill is set to go before the U.S. House of Representatives soon.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange was quick to praise the Senate’s action.
“While stronger enforcement is needed to reduce the disastrous impact of illegal drugs upon our society, we must also address the reality of addiction including the availability of effective treatment,” Strange said in a news release. “The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act provides a nationwide plan to tackle drug addiction with the goal of saving lives. We are grateful to the Senate for its passage of this legislation and urge the U.S. House to give CARA swift approval.”
Strange and 37 Attorneys General from across the country penned a letter in September 2015 urging lawmakers to pass the legislation. Further, the Attorney General’s 2015 Law Enforcement Summit, which was attended by more than 700 officers from across the state, focused on ways to fight the drug epidemic through education and enforcement techniques.
CARA includes provisions to tackle the following:
- Expand prevention and educational efforts – particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations – to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin, and to promote treatment and recovery;
- Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives;
- Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice workers and by providing evidence-based treatment;
- Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents;
- Launch an evidence-based opioids and heroin treatment and intervention program to assist in treatment and recovery throughout the country; and
- Strengthen prescription drug-monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.