In our highly polarized political era, it is pretty uncommon to hear about truly bipartisan legislation, much less a bill that passes with an almost unanimous vote from the United States Senate. Unbelievably, though, such a thing happened just recently—and thankfully, it was for a bill that addresses the ongoing problem of opiate addiction head-on.
The bill in question is called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and aims to change the way we look at the opiate epidemic; rather than view it as a criminal issue, or as something to be punished, CARA seeks to address opiate addiction as a healthcare problem, one best approached with clinical compassion.
The bill enables government agencies to invest more money than ever before into addiction recovery programs. It was developed over the span of three years and passed a Senate vote with almost a clean sweep—94 to 1, to be exact. Now, CARA needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it is made law.
It is important to note that his legislation, though by no means a “cure” for the opiate addiction epidemic, has been met with a favorable response from those in the mental health and addiction recovery communities. Because it provides resources for addiction recovery services at state and local levels, it has been identified as a step in the right direction in addiction care—away from the punitive approach of decades past.
Many of these addiction recovery organizations are urging citizens to contact their representatives and ask for the bill to be approved—and we join beside them. CARA is not perfect, but it is progress—and it could make a positive difference in countless lives. Make sure you contact your representatives today; let them know how much CARA matters!
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