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Rounds Statement on Senate Passage of Bill to Combat Prescription Drug Addiction

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today voted for S. 524, the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, which passed out of the Senate today by a vote of 94-1. CARA seeks to address the growing opioid abuse epidemic in the United States by authorizing state and local grants for treatment, stronger law enforcement and recovery programs. Opioids is another term for heroin and prescription painkillers.

“The number of Americans addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers has more than doubled in the last 15 years,” said Rounds. “It is a devastating dependency that has spread to all corners of our society, impacting not only those who suffer from addiction, but their friends, families and entire communities. Fortunately, opioid addiction is treatable and preventable. Our bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act provides a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to help Americans combat this epidemic beginning at the local level. By expanding prevention efforts, enhancing support for law enforcement and increasing access to treatment, we can begin to reverse and stop the growing epidemic of opioid addiction.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 will:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery. 
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives. 
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
  • Launch a medication assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
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