Portman anti-heroin bill passes U.S. Senate

Staff report

By a strong, bipartisan vote of 94-1, the Senate has passed Senator Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) wide-ranging legislation to combat the heroin epidemic. The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (S. 524) is bipartisan legislation is designed to ensure that federal resources are devoted to evidence-based education, treatment and recovery programs that work.

“Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a victory for American families who are struggling with the disease of addiction. We know that the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is tearing apart families and devastating our communities. This bill will help more Americans put their lives back together and achieve their God-given potential,” said Portman. “I’d like to thank Senator Whitehouse and all of my colleagues, as well as all the anti-drug groups, medical experts, law enforcement officials and others who have helped bring about today’s bipartisan success. We’ve made great progress today but our work is far from over. I urge the House of Representatives to act quickly so we can deliver this bill to the president for his signature. The time to act is now.”

Portman has been fighting for the passage of CARA relentlessly. Yesterday, Portman went to the floor to discuss how CARA is supported by more than 130 national anti-drug groups, Ohio anti-drug groups, and has strong bipartisan support in the Senate and the House. He also continued to put a national spotlight on CARA during an interview on CNN. Tuesday, Senator Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor to describe how CARA helps veterans. On Monday, he outlined how CARA helps women and babies in recovery. Last week, Portman made a push for CARA on the Senate floor four times. He went to the floor to define, in detail, CARA and how it will work, discuss how his legislation will help combat the drug epidemic by promoting education and prevention, detail how drug experts in the Obama administration who deal with drug policy every day strongly support his bipartisan bill, and urge his colleagues to get CARA signed in to law to begin to help American families. In addition, Portman spoke with Fox News to describe how he has worked with experts across the country to put together this bipartisan legislation.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is designed to ensure that federal resources are provided to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have been tested and proven effective in local communities. Specifically, it will:

* Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.

* Make naloxone more widely available to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.

* Provide resources to promptly identify and more effectively treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders.

* Increase the number of 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 interventions program and promote treatment best practices throughout the country.

* Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.


Staff report