Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped the Senate pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which seeks to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics and includes provisions adopted from and similar to bipartisan legislation that Donnelly and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) reintroduced last year. These provisions would enhance prescribing best practices, raise public awareness, and expand access to naloxone. In addition, CARA includes provisions to strengthen prevention efforts and expand access to treatment and recovery services.
Donnelly also had an amendment adopted Wednesday on the Senate floor that would encourage first responder units that receive funding through a program for training law enforcement and first responders to administer naloxone to use outreach coordinators to ensure every individual who receives naloxone also receives an in-person follow-up to help them get connected with treatment or other necessary services. Indianapolis EMS recently began a similar outreach program, designed to connect overdose victims who receive naloxone with the help that they need.
CARA passed the Senate Thursday, 94-1, and now must pass the U.S. House of Representatives.
Donnelly said, “The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act we passed includes provisions adopted from bipartisan legislation that I reintroduced last year focused on developing best prescribing practices and raising public awareness, as well as a program to expand access to life-saving naloxone. While this bipartisan legislation includes many important provisions that will help Hoosier and American families, it will take all of us continuing to work together to address this public health crisis.”
Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor last week in support of the legislation and shared the stories of several Hoosier families who have seen firsthand the devastating harm that opioid abuse and heroin use can have.
Donnelly has been working for more than two years to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics in Indiana and across the country. He has listened to Hoosiers, introduced bipartisan legislation, partnered with federal, state, and local officials, and brought together stakeholders. In addition to his bipartisan legislation with Senator Ayotte, Donnelly hosted a bipartisan roundtable discussion at IUPUI with U.S. Representative Susan Brooks (IN-05), Indiana and federal health officials, doctors, and pharmacists to hear a range of perspectives about best practices to help curb the opioid abuse epidemic and made recommendations to the Governor’s Drug Task Force, providing suggestions for short- and long-term responses to Indiana’s addiction problems.