March 30, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Drug Prescribing/Dispensing Public Health
Last month, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to fund opioid education and prevention initiatives, improve treatment programs and expand the availability of the overdose prevention drug naloxone.
The bill, known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA; S 524), would increase opioid abuse and prevention education efforts to the public, veterans, and incarcerated individuals; expand the availability of naloxone; identify and treat incarcerated individuals (as well as develop alternatives to incarceration); expand drug take-back efforts and disposal sites for unwanted medications; and create prescription opioid and heroin treatment intervention programs and recovery support services.
The U.S. House of Representatives is considering similar legislation (HR 953). The House version of the legislation, which was introduced in February 2015, currently has 92 cosponsors (75 Democrats and 32 Republicans). The House bill is still in committee, and none of the three committees to which it has been assigned has voted on it yet.
The Senate bill is not fully funded, but Senate leaders vowed to find additional funding through the appropriations process.