Rep. Kaptur Calls on Congress to Act Quickly on Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

March 30, 2016
Press Release

TOLEDO, OH — Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) today called for immediate action by the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 953, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015. Rep. Kaptur is a co-sponsor of CARA, which establishes a comprehensive, coordinated and balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery. The bill would empower communities facing a prescription drug crisis to effectively address these local issues with a new $5 million Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grant program for current and former Drug-Free Communities grantees.

The U.S. Senate passed the bill in its chamber, S. 524, on March 10, 2016. Rep. Kaptur is calling on the House to act swiftly in addressing this serious public health crisis by passing H.R. 953.

“Our communities have been struggling with heroin and providing narcan to combat overdoses.  The recent reports out of Cuyahoga County, which in two weekends this month saw 21 deaths related to heroin and/or fentanyl are most troubling. In 2015, Lucas County saw 113 deaths related to heroin and/or fentanyl and Lorain County saw 65 deaths. Just this past week, Erie County saw 3 more deaths related to heroin and/or fentanyl. Now that the concentrated synthetic fentanyl is being widely used, we are losing ground even faster. Fentanyl is stronger than heroin and kills almost instantly. Higher doses of narcan are needed to revive someone who has overdosed on fentanyl, and response time is even more crucial in these instances,” said Rep. Kaptur.  

“And, all of our counties here in Northern Ohio and beyond are similarly impacted,” said Rep. Kaptur. “The need for Congress to act and pass CARA is apparent for Ohio and many other states whose citizens are battling the crisis of addiction at similar levels. Without the immediate action of Congress, our communities’ local law enforcement and medical officials have their hands tied while they wait for more resources to be distributed to fight this public health crisis.”

CARA would expand the availability of naloxone (narcan) to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives. It also directs HHS to convene a Pain Management Best Practice Inter-Agency taskforce to develop both best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication and a strategy for dissemination; and to launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country. Additionally, CARA would 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; and strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.