Portman: New bill includes funding to battle heroin

Staff report

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that the Omnibus Appropriations bill includes measures to help states and communities combat heroin addiction. The legislation includes $70 million to target states that have been hit the hardest with overdoses and will implement evidence-based prevention strategies, including prescription drug monitoring programs. The legislation also includes $7 million in COPS grant funding to support targeted assistance to states dealing with the worst of the heroin crisis. Additional funding is targeted to combat drug abuse in the Veterans Affairs Administration and the diversion efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

With so many Americans falling victim to drug addiction and overdoses from opiates, Portman has continuously pushed to help turn the tide in the struggle against this epidemic. In 2015, Senator introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015. This legislation would provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies to combat addiction – not just one or two. This appropriations in the Omnibus open the door for the evidenced-based programs outlined in CARA to come to fruition.

“In order to help Americans struggling with drug addiction, we must get beyond a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach,” said Portman. “To prevent drug abuse and better help the tens of thousands of Ohioans struggling with addiction, we need a comprehensive strategy that starts from the bottom up. CARA builds on proven methods to enable law enforcement to respond to this heroin epidemic and supports long-term recovery by connecting prevention and education efforts with treatment programs. I am glad that funding in the Omnibus opens the door for the evidenced based programs that are outlined in CARA to be established.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 would:

· Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of 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 interventions program. While we have medications that can help treat addiction, there is a critical need to get 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.

· The legislation is supported by the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, among others.


Staff report