It’s been a busy week in Washington. Sunday’s UNITE to Face Addiction fundraising rally drew thousands of advocates, patients and families from more than 700 organizations to the capitol city, looking to drive greater awareness and change the national conversation about addiction. The rally also served as a natural segue to the National Council for Behavioral Health’s annual Hill Day on Monday, in which industry leaders met with elected officials and their staff to advocate for improved resources within communities.
National Council also named Sen. Robert Portman (R-Ohio) as Legislator of the Year for his introduction of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
“Since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Senator Portman has used his influential position to fight tirelessly for people with mental health and substance use issues,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council, in a statement. “He plays an essential role in advocating for those living with mental illnesses and addictions.”
Last year, Portman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) reintroduced CARA, which would invest in prevention, evidence-based treatment and recovery supports. In addition, Portman signed on as a co-sponsor of the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015, which provides support for training programs to help the public identify, understand and address mental health crisis situations.