Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Headed to President

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) today lauded the Senate’s passage of the conference report on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation to combat the opioid epidemic across the nation, including Alaska. CARA overwhelmingly passed the Senate on a vote of 92-2 and last week passed the House 407-5.  

“After months of gridlock, senators today came together to pass a comprehensive package to combat the opioid and heroin addiction crisis,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “Having met with a number of Alaskans across our great state, I know Alaska is not immune to this epidemic, with many Alaskans facing unique obstacles to recovery. CARA provides the much-needed resources to bolster prevention efforts, expand law enforcement’s capacity to reverse overdoses, and provide treatment and recovery options for Americans who have fallen victim to this epidemic. The passage of CARA is a major step toward changing the tide and giving addicts and their families new hope.” 

Among its provisions, CARA:

  • Makes the life-saving drug naloxone more widely available to law enforcement and first responders so that they have a better chance of reversing an overdose.
  • Expands resources to develop, implement and expend treatment alternatives to incarceration.
  • Increases the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription drugs.

  • Establishes an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions demonstration program, and authorizes grants to states to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response.

  • Reinforces prescription drug monitoring programs for states to help ensure drugs do not fall into the wrong hands.

  • Implements a public awareness campaign to warn of the dangers of opioid use, to recognize warning signs, and to prevent abuse.

Senator Sullivan will be hosting the Alaska Wellness Summit: Conquering the Opioid Crisis on August 4th at Mat-Su College. U.S. Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, top-level U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials, and esteemed Alaskans will be participating and speaking.