Following a week of debate, the Senate is expected to vote on the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (S. 524) next week. Senator Portman has been has been relentlessly championing the bill, which he authored with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), in order to combat the heroin epidemic devastating communities across Ohio and throughout our country.
One reason this bipartisan legislation has been supported by more than 130 national anti-drug groups is that it devotes resources to the kind of evidence-based treatment and recovery programs that have been tested and proven to work. It does so by authorizing the HHS Secretary to award grants to:
· State substance abuse agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and tribal organizations that have a high rate or rapid increase in the use of opioids (heroin and prescription opioid pain relievers);
· States, units of local government, or Indian tribes to implement medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs through criminal justice agencies;
· Accredited recovery high schools, accredited high schools that are seeking to establish or expand recovery support services, an institution of higher education, a recovery program at a nonprofit college, or a nonprofit organization; and
· Recovery community organizations to enable them to develop, expand, and enhance recovery services.
Portman delivered remarks on the Senate floor twice this week to discuss the importance of CARA and encourage his colleagues to vote it. First, he went to the floor to discuss how his legislation will help combat the drug epidemic by promoting education and prevention in order to stop drug abuse before it begins, and second to detail how the drug experts in the Obama administration who deal with drug policy every day strongly support his bipartisan bill. A final Senate vote is expected next week.