New Opioid Crisis Response Bill Introduced in Both Chambers

This week, a group of 95 Democrats in the House and Senate re-introduced a bill that would invest $100 billion in federal funds over ten years to better address the opioid overdose epidemic, which took almost 48,000 American lives in 2017. The Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act (S. 1365/H.R. 2569) includes provisions to strengthen standards for recovery residences, establish new grant programs to help individuals living with addictions find or maintain employment, and incentivize states to cover the full range of addiction services in their Medicaid programs. The National Council thanks the CARE Act’s sponsors for their work to provide desperately needed resources that will expand addiction treatment capacity nationwide.

The CARE Act, originally introduced last year, is being headed up by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), who are backed by 8 more Senators and over 85 Representatives. “The opioid and addiction crisis touches all communities, regardless of geography, income, or racial makeup,” said Senator Warren upon introduction. “The federal government has waited far too long to address this crisis. It’s long past time to enact comprehensive legislation to make sure everyone who needs treatment for a substance use disorder is able to get it.”

The bill as currently written would split the $100 billion investment up over ten years to include the following:

  • Targeted grants to states, territories, tribal governments, counties, and cities with those most impacted by overdoses receiving extra support to carry out tailored responses and activities.
  • Research, public health surveillance, and training to support health professionals providing treatment for substance use disorders.
  • Expanded access to treatment via investments in innovative service delivery, programs to expand provider capacity, and supports for workers with or at risk for substance use disorders to maintain and gain employment.
  • Expanded access to overdose reversal drugs by providing Naloxone to first responders, public health departments, and the public.

Learn more by viewing the bill text, funding charts, and endorsement letters on Senator Warren’s website here.

Guest Author

Shelley Starkey