U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today announced that his bill to address the heroin epidemic in Ohio has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now ready for a vote in the full Senate. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which is the only bipartisan and comprehensive bill moving forward in the Senate, will 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. The bill was authored by Portman and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and 25 others.
“This is an important step in the fight to save our friends, neighbors, and family members struggling with addiction,” Portman stated. “This is the only bipartisan legislation that includes a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to help communities combat this epidemic. It has significant support from both sides of the aisle, as well as from doctors, nurses, first responders, those in recovery, and other experts in the field. The heroin epidemic in Ohio has reached crisis levels and I will continue to work to get this bill over the finish line.”
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. S. 524) is designed to ensure that federal resources are provided to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have proven effective in local communities. Specifically, it will:
· 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.