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Kuster, Warren, Baldwin, Maloney Lead More than 100 Democrats in Senate and House in Reintroducing Landmark CARE Act To Combat the Substance Use Epidemic

**The CARE Act is the most ambitious legislation of its kind in Congress and would allocate $125 billion over 10 years to defeat the substance use crisis**

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), along with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative David Trone (MD-06) led over 100 democrats in the Senate and House in reintroducing the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, the most ambitious legislation ever introduced in Congress to confront the substance use epidemic. Endorsed by over 175 organizations, the CARE Act would provide state and local governments with $125 billion in federal funding over ten years, including nearly $1 billion per year directly to tribal governments and organizations.

The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and over 98 members of the House of Representatives.

Originally introduced in 2018 by Senator Warren and the late Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the updated CARE Act of 2021 addresses the substance use disorder crisis, including, but not limited to, the opioid epidemic.

“While we have taken tremendous steps forward to address the addiction and substance use epidemic in New Hampshire and throughout the country, this crisis has persisted – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. “That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the CARE Act, ambitious legislation to expand access to treatment and create sustained, targeted funding to finally turn the tide on this crisis.” 

“For too long state and local leaders, health officials, and first responders in Massachusetts and across the country have been forced to shoulder the burden of the substance use disorder crisis,” said Senator Warren. “It is time for the federal government to address this crisis head on by enacting comprehensive legislation to make sure everyone who needs treatment for a substance use disorder is able to get it—whether they live in the largest cities, in rural or suburban areas, on tribal lands, or anywhere else in the United States.”

“Too many families across this country have been devastated by America’s addiction crisis, which has gotten worse during the coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, the federal government must step up and provide our communities with the sustained funding they need to expand treatment access and turn the tide on this epidemic,” said House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “This critical legislation will deliver essential resources to those on the frontlines of this crisis, in order to prevent future tragedies and save lives.”

“The opioid epidemic and substance abuse crisis continues to touch every community across Wisconsin and the country, and the COVID pandemic has only made it worse,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “I support taking action with the CARE Act, which will deliver a sustained funding source for our local and state partners to support prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. This is bold action that will help address this public health crisis and save lives.”

“The opioid epidemic has taken hold of communities in every corner of the country. Even still, the treatment between substance use disorder and other diseases such as cancer couldn’t be more different,” said Congressman David Trone, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. “The CARE Act meets the moment by providing crucial funding to not only treat addiction but also prevent the disease in the first place. We must achieve parity in how we treat addiction in America. This bill is a step in the right direction.”

Last year, approximately 275 Americans died each day from a drug overdose while the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated our nation’s mental health and substance use disorder crises. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses between May 2020 and May 2021, an increase of more than 20 percent over the previous year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 40.3 million people reported suffering from substance use disorder in the past year. Despite the critical need for substance use disorder services, only about 6.5% of those in need of specialty treatment for substance use disorders were able to access it in 2020.

The CARE Act would provide $125 billion over ten years to fight this crisis, including:

  • $4.6 billion per year to states, territories, and tribal governments, including $2.3 billion to states with the highest levels of overdoses and $1.84 billion through competitive grants;
  • $3.3 billion per year to the hardest hit counties and cities, including $1.75 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses and $1.22 billion through competitive grants;
  • $2 billion per year for public health surveillance, biomedical research, and improved training for health professionals, including $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $500 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and regional tribal epidemiology centers, and $500 million to train and provide technical assistance to professionals treating substance use disorders;
  • $1.6 billion per year to support expanded and innovative service delivery, including $1 billion 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
  • $1 billion 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 legislation has been endorsed by over 175 national, local, and tribal organizations. You can view the full list here.