CARE Act Gains Traction with Support from Medical Experts

The Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency Act (CARE Act) was introduced last month to provide additional resources to government groups working to combat opioid addiction and prevent opioid overdoses. In the days leading up to a Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on the issue, medical experts overwhelmingly chose to endorse the legislation as a possible solution to combatting addiction and addiction related death.

According to the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who introduced the act in the Senate, the CARE Act includes,

  • $4 billion per year to states, territories, and tribal governments, including $2 billion to states with the highest levels of overdoses, $1.6 billion through competitive grants, and $400 million for tribal grants;
  • $2.7 billion per year to the hardest hit counties and cities,including $1.43 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses, $1 billion through competitive grants, and $270 million for tribal grants;  
  • $1.7 billion per year for public health surveillance, biomedical research, and improved training for health professionals, including $700 million for the National Institutes of Health, $500 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regional tribal epidemiology centers, and $500 million to train and provide technical assistance to professionals treating substance use disorders;
  • $1.1 billion per year to support expanded and innovative service delivery,including $500 million for public and nonprofit entities, $500 million for projects of national significance that provide treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services, $50 million to help workers with, or at risk for, substance use disorders maintain and gain employment, and $50 million to expand treatment provider capacity; and
  • $500 million per year to expand access to overdose reversal drugs (Naloxone)and provide this life-saving medicine to states for distribution to first responders, public health departments, and the public.

The act is modeled after the Ryan White Act, which supported local decision making and programs to expand treatment and recovery support services for those combatting the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the 1990s.

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who introduced the measure in the House, announced that many medical groups endorsed the bill.

Among the groups endorsing the bill are AIDS United, Drug Policy Alliance, the Association for Addiction Professionals, American Public Health Association, the March of Dimes, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine, and the Baltimore City Health Department.

Dr. Yngvild Olsen, the Vice President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), which is a national medical society representing more than 6,000 physicians and other clinicians who specialize in preventing and treating addiction, said, “Payment for treatment alone is just the beginning.  Communities need additional resources to create systems of care and social services that give every individual the opportunity to achieve and sustain recovery.  One terrific model is the Ryan White Care Act.  Ryan White is the Act of Congress that has made it possible for our national goal today to be the end of the HIV epidemic.  We need a similar investment so that we can one day achieve the national goal of ending our addiction and overdose crisis.  That’s why ASAM supports the CARE Act.”


Posted in From the Hill



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