Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly received the Congressional Leadership Award from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). CADCA’s Congressional Leadership Award recognizes members of Congress who have championed strategies to enhance substance abuse prevention, education, treatment, and research.
Donnelly said, “Too many families across Indiana and our country have come to know firsthand the pain of a loved one suffering from addiction and that is why I have been working to stem the tide of this public health crisis. It’s encouraging that we are seeing some momentum and bipartisan consensus in Indiana, and in the Senate there are commonsense actions we can take that will make a difference for Hoosiers and Americans. It is an honor to receive this recognition, and I will continue working in a bipartisan way to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics by expanding prevention, treatment, and recovery services.”
For two years, Donnelly has been working to combat the opioid abuse and heroin epidemics in Indiana and across the nation. He has listened to Hoosiers, introduced bipartisan legislation, partnered with federal, state, and local officials, and brought together stakeholders. Last week, Donnelly announced his support for bipartisan legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), that would provide a series of incentives and resources to encourage states and local communities to use proven tactics to prevent and treat drug addiction and support individuals in recovery. CARA includes a number of provisions similar to policies in Donnelly’s Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education, and Enforcement Act, which he reintroduced with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in April 2015.
Donnelly has also 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. He also made recommendations to the Governor’s Drug Task Force, providing suggestions for short- and long-term responses to Indiana’s addiction problems. In November 2015, the Protecting our Infants Act to help newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal and painful symptoms associated with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which Donnelly cosponsored and helped pass the Senate, was signed into law by President Obama.
Both state and federal officials are acting on some of the bipartisan policies Donnelly has advocated for, including improving prescribing practices and enhancing prescriber engagement, raising public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin use, and better utilizing prescription drug monitoring programs at the state level.
(L) Senator Donnelly receiving the Congressional Leadership Award and (R) with a group of Hoosiers in Washington as a part of CADCA.