06.16.16

Leahy Named A Top Negotiator On CARA Act To Address Opioid

Leahy Named A Top Negotiator On Legislation
To Address Opioid Epidemic

. . . Leahy To Join House-Senate Discussions On Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, June 16, 2016) – The Senate on Thursday named Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) as a key negotiator in bipartisan, bicameral discussions on legislation to address the nation’s opioid crisis, which has deeply impacted Vermont and other states.

“I am a proud cosponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and I am glad this important bill is now going to be moving to conference,” Leahy said Thursday. “In Vermont and across the country, there are few issues more pressing than opioid and heroin addiction. It is urgent we find comprehensive and real solutions to fight this epidemic. We have to provide real support to rural communities and better access to life-saving treatment.”

Leahy added: “We have to act now. The American people expect us to act.”

Leahy is a cosponsor of the bipartisan CARA bill, which aims to tackle opioid and heroin addiction through the same kind of community-based approach that has made significant improvements in Vermont. Leahy worked to ensure the legislation, which passed the Senate in March, includes key provisions for rural communities. The bill authorizes a grant program Leahy helped to create that expands access to Medication Assisted Treatment programs. And importantly for Vermont, and at Leahy’s urging, the bill also includes specific language to help rural communities obtain the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.

Now, a select group of House and Senate members, including Leahy, will negotiate a path forward on the CARA bill. Leahy and Senate Democrats have called for an increase in funding in order to adequately address the widespread problem of addiction. On Thursday, Leahy reiterated that call.

“We have an opportunity to equip our communities with the support and resources they need to finally get ahead of addiction through prevention and treatment. These programs will save lives, and this is a worthy investment,” Leahy said.

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