Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) this week introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014, which would provide incentives and resources—as much a $80 million—to encourage states and local communities to adopt a complement of strategies to combat addiction. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 would:
· Expand prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.
· Expand the availability of Narcan (naloxone) to law enforcement agencies and other first responders.
· Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals with addiction disorders with evidence-based treatment.
· Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications.
· Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program nationwide.
· Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs through state incentives.
“This legislation builds on proven methods to enable law enforcement to respond to this heroin epidemic and supports long-term recovery by connecting prevention and education efforts with treatment programs,” Portman said in a statement.
Additionally, in an opinion piece for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he wrote that policies in the past have not allowed states and local communities the flexibility to apply resources where they are most needed. He said the proposed legislation will allow for grassroots solutions.
Whitehouse and Portman wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill that they believe the time is ripe for a comprehensive approach that puts law enforcement and public health “on the same page.”
The proposed legislation has the support of the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health and the Major County Sheriffs’ Association.