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CARA: Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

CARA is a bill that has made its way through the House and Senate and was just officially signed into law by the President of the U.S., which effectively changes the way the nation looks at the opioid epidemic. CARA looks to bend drug policy away from punishment and makes a push toward a public health approach by providing hundreds of millions of dollars into increased treatment resources and award grants to address the national epidemic of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

Political Support for CARA

While the opioid crisis has been progressively growing in this country for more than a decade with opioid and heroin related deaths growing more than 400% in a 10 year period, it has relatively recently come to the attention of U.S. national policymakers. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with a vote of 92 to 2, and the House followed suit and passed the bill with a vote of 407 to 5. President Obama has completed the process this past week by signing the bill into law on July 22, 2016.

Emphasis of CARA

The new bill, CARA, shifts the emphasis of treatment away from abstinence and toward the new emphasis of medication-assisted treatment. Use of medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan has proven to be the most successful and most effective for those who want to end their opioid addiction. CARA will also allow qualified practitioners to more than double the number of patients that can be treated with specific medication, buprenorphine for example.

Benefits of CARA

When fully funded with approximately $800 million in funds each year, CARA will provide grants that will:

  • Expand access to opioid overdose reversal drugs (i.e., naloxone)
  • Support for addiction treatment services including those that use buprenorphine and other medication assisted treatments
  • Develop and enhance recovery services
  • Develop a link between recovery services and other recovery support systems
  • Provide state grants for opioid abuse education, treatment and recovery efforts
  • Provide for a prescription drug monitoring program across the country
  • Provide grants to develop prevention systems addressing overdose deaths

Local Treatment for Opioid Addiction Available

Dr. Hege has been providing treatment for opioid addiction / substance abuse for decades. Call the office for a confidential appointment.