White House Signs Landmark Portman-Authored CARA Legislation

July 22, 2016 | Press Releases

White House Drug Experts Joined Advocates, Families, Patients in Recovery & Law Enforcement in Helping to Develop & Craft CARA Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following three years of work with input from the advocates, families who’ve lost loved ones, patients in recovery, law enforcement as well as drug experts in the White House, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) expressed gratitude that President Obama has signed into law his Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA).  CARA passed the Senate by a 92-2 vote following a 407-5 vote in the House.  Portman – who has been widely praised by Ohio anti-drug advocates for his work on this bill – issued the following statement:

“This is a historic moment in the fight against addiction.  It’s a moment when we came together as a country – Democrats and Republicans alike – behind a common-sense idea: finally treating addiction like the disease that it is. And with the epidemic of opiate addiction taking an American life every 12 minutes, this may be the most urgent issue that we face. These comprehensive reforms will target federal resources to prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have been proven to work best and make the federal government a better partner with families and communities are suffering from the consequences of widespread addiction.

“I thank the president for signing this bill and thank his own drug experts within the White House for their support and valuable input in helping to craft this bill, along with many others.  I have long agreed we need more funding and that’s why we have already secured significant funding increases for opioids this year and are on track to more than double funding over two years.  We need to continue to fight for more resources to turn the tide of this epidemic and I welcome the White House’s support in that effort.”

NOTE: For more information on how the White House helped develop and craft the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act, and how its own drug experts have widely praised it many times, please go here and here and here

CARA is designed to ensure that federal resources are focused on evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that have been tested and proven effective in local communities.  The CARA conference agreement authorizes $181 million annually in discretionary spending for new programs contained in the legislation. That’s more than double – a 132 percent increase – the authorization level in the original Senate-passed bill ($78 million).

In addition to fighting to enact CARA, Portman has worked with the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure significant increases in funding for opioid programs.  For example:

  • For opioid programs within the Labor-HHS spending bill, the Committee has approved a 93 percent increase over and above last year’s increase. That amounts to a 539 percent increase over the funding level two years ago.
  • For all federal opioid programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 47 percent increase in discretionary spending on opioid addiction programs in one year, and a 113 percent increase in discretionary spending—nearly $250 million—over the last two years. That’s a greater increase in discretionary spending than the White House has proposed.