Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in co-sponsoring the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which aims to address the national epidemic of prescription opioid drug abuse and heroin use.
“The number of Americans addicted to prescription drugs and heroin has been growing at an alarming rate,” said Rubio. “It’s important to ensure that proper treatment services are there for those who are seeking help or who have fallen through the cracks, and this bill will help them get the care they deserve.
“This bill will improve treatment options, increase prevention efforts, and help law enforcement fight drug abuse,” Rubio added. “In addition to addressing this problem in our communities, the federal government must also do its part to help stop the illegal trafficking of drugs across our porous border while assisting our allies around the world in combatting the drug cartels that seek to push drugs into the U.S.”
The Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act would:
• Expand prevention and educational efforts – particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations - to prevent the abuse of prescription opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery;
• Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help reverse overdoses and save lives;
• Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from substance use disorders 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, provide the training and resources necessary to expand 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;
• Require a GAO report on the impact of the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion on access to treatment for individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD), and ask GAO to look into whether certain policy changes to the IMD Exclusion, including repealing it, would enhance treatment options for individuals with a SUD; and
• Create a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to help states and communities fight addiction and support individuals in recovery.