Kuster Joins Colleagues To Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation To End the Addiction Epidemic and Increase Access to Treatment, Prevention, and Recovery Resources
**Co-Chairs of Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force and the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus Join Together to Co-Lead CARA 3.0**
Washington, July 1, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined her fellow co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, David Trone (D-MD), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and the co-chairs of the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH), David McKinley (R-WV), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Dave Joyce (R-OH), to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0.
CARA 3.0 is aimed at mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the addiction epidemic and will build on the original Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 and CARA 2.0 by increasing funding for prevention, education, research, treatment, and recovery. U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the bill in the Senate in March.
As we continue on the road to recovery from COVID-19, there is bipartisan agreement that more resources are necessary to turn the tide on the addiction epidemic. A CDC survey recently found that 13% of American adults started or increased their substance use to cope with emotions related to the pandemic. The original CARA Act has six evidence-based pillars: prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, criminal justice reform, and overdose reversal. CARA 3.0 would strengthen these pillars and provide a solid foundation for tackling the addiction epidemic going forward.
“Over the past year, our nation’s substance use treatment providers have been hard at work serving those in need, often transitioning to telehealth appointments and mobile clinics to avoid lapses in treatment and access,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “As we emerge from this pandemic, it is critical we provide doctors, nurses, and health care workers the support they need for prevention, education, research, treatment, and recovery. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing CARA 3.0 to modernize our nation’s approach to the addiction crisis, and I look forward to advancing this much-needed legislation to help save lives.”
“It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated substance use disorders and revealed the true extent of our nation's public health crisis,” said Rep. David Trone. “We need a multi-pronged approach where health care professionals are equipped to give compassionate and effective treatment and those with substance use disorder are given the resources they need for recovery: housing, accessible health care, job opportunities, and most of all a second chance. That is why I am calling on my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to come together and pass CARA 3.0 so that real help can be delivered to those individuals and communities impacted by addiction.”
“Fatal opioid overdoses increased significantly in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, it is imperative we provide crucial support for the millions of those struggling with mental health or a substance use disorder in our country,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. “As a Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I am determined to push the federal government to educate, raise awareness, and provide the needed resources for treatment. I am hopeful that my colleagues will support CARA 3.0 so that we can continue our fight against the mental health and addiction epidemic.”
“Southwest Washington communities have witnessed substance use, addiction, and fatal overdoses skyrocket over the last year as people struggle under the weight of COVID,” said Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler. In my ongoing effort to stem the deadly drug epidemic, I’m helping introduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 3.0, to increase funding for prevention, education, research, treatment, and recovery for those affected by addiction and substance use. As co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I’m going to continue advocating for solutions that help folks across our country break addiction and successfully navigate recovery.”
“For many struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders, this pandemic has only made things more difficult. The increased economic hardship, and the challenge of staying home and social distancing exacerbated existing conditions and created new struggles,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, I understand the damage the opioid epidemic causes in communities here in Ohio and across the country. We cannot sit by while Americans are struggling and overdose rates are rising. This legislation is more important than ever as we continue to work to stem this tide and bring an end to the opioid epidemic.”
“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed the pandemic intensify the substance use disorder epidemic in West Virginia,” said Rep. David McKinley. “Our bipartisan bill builds off the critical work in CARA and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This legislation can provide the much-needed resources in prevention and recovery programs to help combat the substance use disorder across the country. Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time, we must stop ignoring this epidemic.”
“With the global COVID pandemic continuing to drive unprecedented mental health challenges and a scary spike in opioid deaths, we need to take action now to expand access to safe, proven and affordable treatments and other lifesaving services,” Rep. Paul Tonko said. “I applaud the inclusion of the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act in the new Comprehensive Access and Recovery Act to ensure this bold legislation finally ends the outdated bureaucratic ‘x-waiver’ and opens the door for millions more Americans to access buprenorphine, a life-changing addiction medication that many medical professionals can already prescribe for other purposes. Now is the time to act to ensure that Americans in need can access mental health services and addiction, treatment and recovery services. I am proud to join with my colleagues to advance this comprehensive package to save lives and better address the needs of so many of our neighbors, friends and loved ones throughout the nation.”
“We are at a critical point in our battle against addiction here in America,” said Rep. Dave Joyce, Vice Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus. “The pandemic brought fear, uncertainty, stress, and many other overwhelming emotions to those who face the day-to-day reality of living with a substance use disorder. It also made it more difficult for them to access care, resulting in a staggering increase of overdose deaths across the country. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation to strengthen the programs that have helped local communities effectively combat addiction and the opioid crisis. Now more than ever, we must help our loved ones, friends and neighbors who struggle with addiction find the path to recovery – this bill will help us do just that.”
CARA 3.0 includes a host of new policy changes, including mandating physician education on addiction, treatment, and pain management. It would establish a National Commission for Excellence in Post-Overdose Response to improve drug overdose care, create a program to study mobile methadone clinics in rural areas, and commission a review of recovery housing. It would also:
Other original cosponsors include Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Michael Turner (R-OH), Angie Craig (D-MN), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Mike Levin (D-CA), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), John Katko (R-NY), John Rutherford (R-FL), Steve Womack (R-AR), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Troy Carter (R-LA), G.K. Butterfield (R-NC), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Susie Lee (D-NV), Nanette Barragan (D-CA), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA).
A summary of the bill can be found here.
A Section by Section of the bill can be found here.
Bill text can be found here.