On Friday, following three years of bipartisan work with input from a variety of stakeholders, President Barack Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) – legislation co-authored by Senator Portman and his Democratic colleague from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse.  Portman praised the signing of the bill, calling it “a historic moment in the fight against addiction.”  Likewise, Whitehouse said “together we have changed the course of drug policy in this country.”  Here’s Whitehouse’s full statement following the bill signing:

“Addiction is an illness in need of care and the law the President signed today will treat it like one.  This legislation will help people suffering from addiction to find treatment and reclaim their lives.  It will help to educate the public—especially young people—about the consequences of drug abuse.  It will aid family, friends, and health care and law enforcement professionals in confronting an overdose.  And it will lend support to those following the long, noble path of recovery—something we should celebrate rather than punish,” said Whitehouse.  “Thank you to the recovery community in Rhode Island and nationwide and to all those on the front lines of this epidemic for lending your time, knowledge, and experience to this effort.  Together we have changed the course of drug policy in this country and helped to recognize the humanity behind addiction.”

Portman and Whitehouse began developing the legislation in 2014, holding policy forums on various aspects of the severe addiction crisis with input from advocates, families who’ve lost loved ones, patients in recovery, law enforcement as well as drug experts in the White House.  The bill that resulted, CARA, passed the Senate by a 92-2 vote following a 407-5 vote in the House. It is now law.

Portman has been widely praised by Ohio anti-drug advocates for his work on this new law.  More than 230 anti-drug groups backed the bill because it expands evidence-based education, treatment, and recovery programs that have been proven to work. For a brief summary of this new federal law, click here.

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