Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today urged key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund the programs authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation aimed at combatting the nation’s opioid epidemic.
 
“Opioid addiction in my home state of Florida is growing at an alarming rate, hurting not only the lives of addicts, but their families, friends, and surrounding communities,” Rubio’s letter states. “While getting CARA to the President’s desk was an important first step in combatting this growing issue, Congress must fulfill its commitment to those dealing with addiction by providing the funding necessary for the many programs and resources authorized by CARA.”
 
Rubio co-sponsored CARA in February, and it was signed into law by President Obama in July. In May, Rubio met in Orlando with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs to discuss the heroin epidemic sweeping through Central Florida, and chaired a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on "Cartels and the U.S. Heroin Epidemic: Combating Drug Violence and Public Health Crisis."
 
The full text of the letter is below. 
 
September 13, 2016
 
The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
 
The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Vice Chairwoman
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
 
The Honorable Roy Blunt
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
United State Senate
 
The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
United State Senate
 
Dear Chairmen Cochran and Blunt, Vice Chairwoman Mikulski, and Ranking Member Murray,
 
As you know, on July 22nd, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation I was proud to cosponsor.  Opioid addiction in my home state of Florida is growing at an alarming rate, hurting not only the lives of addicts, but their families, friends, and surrounding communities. 
 
Over the past few years in Florida, we have seen a spike in the use of opioid drugs.  As many as six people a week are dying from overdoes of heroin and synthetic opiates in Broward County.  This July, sadly, Delray Beach hit a new record of 66 heroin overdoses that month – topping its previous record of 64 overdoses in March.  In the same timeframe in Bradenton, Manatee Memorial Hospital had 344 people come into the emergency room with overdoses.  This crisis has reached such epidemic levels that the local medical examiner no longer has enough space to hold all of those who die from heroin overdoses each week.
 
Many of the provisions authorized in CARA will go a long way in not only preventing overdoses, but equipping federal, state and local officials to stop addiction before it starts.  CARA is also helping law enforcement reverse overdoses as first responders, expanding prevention and educational efforts to prevent drug abuse, and increasing resources to identify and treat addicts.
 
While getting CARA to the President’s desk was an important first step in combatting this growing issue, Congress must fulfill its commitment to those dealing with addiction by providing the funding necessary for the many programs and resources authorized by CARA.  I thank you for your commitment to assisting those dealing with addiction and respectfully request that you fulfill that commitment by fully funding the programs authorized in CARA in any future appropriations.
 
It is my hope that, with federal assistance, we can begin to battle this growing epidemic that is so damaging to our society.
 
Thank you for your consideration of my request.
           
Marco Rubio
U.S. Senator