Last week, the House passed the House-Senate conference agreement on Senator Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 407 to 5. The measure 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.

At the same time Congress is working to enact CARA, it is also working to increase opioid program funding significantly. The original Senate-passed CARA authorized $78 million in new funding. The bill passed by a 94 to 1 vote.

The conference agreement more than doubles the increase in spending to $181 million.

Since the Senate passed CARA, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved legislation that will increase funding for opioid programs under the Department of Health and Human Services by a 93 percent increase over and above this year’s increase. That amounts to a 539 percent increase over the funding level two years ago.

For spending on all federal opioid programs, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 114 percent increase in federal spending on opioid programs over the last two years.

 

These funding increases will are a positive step forward—but funding alone won’t solve the problem. A bigger investment is a good thing, but it is more critical than ever that federal funding be spent on what we know works. That’s why CARA’s policy changes to improve prevention, treatment, helping veterans, and helping women and babies are so important.

 

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