Prescription drug abuse
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Senate Passes Bill to Combat Drug Addiction

The Scoop

The Senate recently passed a bill to fight America’s growing opioid addiction epidemic. 

Overview

  • Drug addiction is sweeping the nation, with opioids at the forefront
  • Bill aims to expand drug prevention, education, and addiction treatment
  • Received overwhelming support in the Senate and goes to the House next

The Details

America’s drug problem is getting worse. And with addiction and overdose-related deaths growing at such a rapid pace, lawmakers are starting to take action. Drug overdose is now the main cause of accidental death, with opioid addiction leading the way. Each day, 44 people in the U.S. die from prescription painkiller overdose. And in 2014, more than 10,000 people died from heroin overdose.

What are lawmakers doing about it? Enter the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which the Senate passed Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Here are some highlights of the bill:

  • Provides grant money for treatment, education, and prevention programs
  • Expands availability of naloxone (a drug that reverses opioid overdose) to first responders and law enforcement agencies
  • Bolsters prescription drug monitoring programs to discourage unneeded opioid prescriptions
  • Aims to reduce or eliminate collateral consequences for people with state or federal drug convictions and expand treatment options for incarcerated individuals

The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support (passing 94-1) after $600 million in additional program funding was dropped from the measure. It still has yet to be voted on by the House.