CARA passes the House

U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s (R-OH) Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) conference report has overwhelmingly passed the U.S. house of Representatives, authorizing $181 million in annual discretionary spending for new programs contained in the legislation.

Portman praised members of the House for passing the measure by a 407-5 vote. the Senate will vote on CARA next week.

“Today’s overwhelming 407 to 5 vote shows that the epidemic of prescription drug and opioid addiction is affecting every single community across the country, and that this House-Senate agreement on CARA is a common-sense, comprehensive response to it,” Portman said. “This legislation will make a difference for the millions of families who have been affected by addiction. It will increase federal funding for opioid programs by hundreds of millions of dollars and will target this funding to what has been proven to work. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House, and I am looking forward to getting this bill to President Obama for his signature, and – more importantly – to our communities, so it can begin to help.”

Portman said CARA is designed to ensure that federal resources are focused on evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have been tested and proven effective in local communities. The price tag of $181 million more than doubles (132 percent) the authorization level in the original Senate-passed CARA bill. That cost was $78 million.

In addition to fighting to enact CARA, Portman has worked with the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure significant increases in funding for opioid programs such as the one within the Labor-HHS spending bill. The Committee has approved a 93 percent increase over and above last year’s increase. That amounts to a 539 percent increase over the funding level two years ago and for all federal opioid programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 47 percent increase in discretionary spending on opioid addiction programs in one year, and a 113 percent increase in discretionary spending—nearly $250 million—over the last two years. That’s a greater increase in discretionary spending than the White House has proposed.

The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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