Congress just took major action on the Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse Crisis


Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

S.524 – To authorize the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, and to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes.

The final bill that passed the Senate, on a vote of 94-1, included a $5 million enhancement grant program for current and former Drug-Free Communities grantees with an urgent need to address prescription drug abuse, heroin, and methamphetamine crises in their communities. In addition to the Senate’s actions, the House of Representatives passed over a dozen individual opioid-related pieces of legislation during the week of May 9 that, collectively, served as a counterpart to the CARA bill.

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of methamphetamines, 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 stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
  • Launch a medication assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

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