Portman Statement on U.S. Overdose Deaths Surpassing 100,000 In Past Year

Calls for Action on Bipartisan CARA 3.0 to Address Worsening Addiction Crisis, Stem Tide of Overdose Deaths

November 17, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) released the following statement after the CDC released preliminary data today showing that drug overdose deaths rose by 28.5% over a 12-month period ending in April 2021, to an estimated 100,306.

“Today’s news underscores the devastating effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our efforts to fight addiction. To lose more than 100,000 Americans to drug overdoses in a single year is stunning and heartbreaking.

“In 2020, we saw a record high of overdose deaths. According to the CDC, the numbers released today indicate that 2021 will look even worse, reaffirming what I’ve said many times before – the drug and addiction epidemic in this country is not only resurgent, but far worse than ever before.

“This tragic death toll must serve as a resounding wake-up call and a catalyst for immediate action. Congress should start by passing my CARA 3.0 – sweeping, bipartisan legislation that will bolster evidence-based programs, expand treatment options, and provide communities with the resources they need to save lives.

“The Biden administration must also take immediate action to secure our southern border. According to the October Customs and Border Protection operational statistics, fentanyl seizures have increased by 42 percent between September and October of this year and we do not know how much more is slipping through our out of control border. The failure of this administration to control our southern border has led to record levels of fentanyl and other deadly narcotics coming into our country and devastating families in Ohio and across the country.

“We must take decisive and immediate action to address this raging drug and addiction crisis. American lives are on the line.”

NOTE: On March 25, 2021, Senators Portman and Whitehouse introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 to increase the funding authorization levels for the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) programs enacted in 2016 and put in place additional policy reforms to help combat the opioid epidemic that has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.