8 Reasons to Support the CARA Conference Report

July 5, 2016 | Jessica Hulsey Nickel

This week the House and Senate Conferees will meet to discuss and finalize the conference report for S.524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was released this morning.  

The Addiction Policy Forum endorses the final report, which represents a truly comprehensive response to addiction. CARA is a monumental step forward – a tipping point to better addressing the paralyzing opioid epidemic.

It acknowledges that the six pillars of a comprehensive response are each of equal import and interdependent as a whole, including prevention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, overdose reversal, and law enforcement. Only through a comprehensive response can we reverse current trends and provide individuals and families impacted by addiction with the services they need.

8 Reasons to Support the CARA Conference Report:

  1. Funding-- It includes new programs -- $181 million dollars of new programs to supplement the $8.111 billion that we are asking Congress to continue funding, which means we are looking at $8.3 billion dollars in addiction funding.
  2. Treatment-- It brings us closer to treating addiction across this nation like a disease with individualized treatment and follow-up with each patient, including $160 million in treatment programs, expansion of medication assisted treatment, and specialized programs for pregnant and postpartum women, veterans and youth.
  3. Prevention – It includes education efforts and community-based prevention, including support of Drug-Free Communities and a critical awareness campaign.
  4. Recovery – CARA creates a new recovery program to provide robust recovery services in local communities; and includes recovery supports for communities, schools and higher education in comprehensive programs nationwide.
  5. Overdose Reversal – Expands the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives. 
  6. Access to Treatment – Expands quality treatment capability through the Evidence-Based Opioid and Heroin Treatment Pilot, the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, and expands access to medication assisted treatment by giving prescribing authority to Nurse Practioners and Physicians Assistants nationwide.
  7. Law Enforcement – expands overdose reversal capacity for law enforcement, training and resources to better divert individuals with substance use disorders, and assistance with disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications.
  8. Criminal Justice Reform – Helps treat individuals with substance use disorders in communities and treatment systems instead of haphazardly through our jails and prisons through the creation of an Alternatives to Incarceration program.
Congress has put a lot of work into these bills. The language is different and the policies are better. For the more than 47,000 families who lost a parent, child, or friend to an overdose last year alone, we are finally within reach of tackling this epidemic.

Jessica Nickel
Addiction Policy Forum


Topics: CARA, CARA Info, News