Congressman Tim Ryan Votes to Fight Heroin Epidemic

Congressman Tim Ryan today voted in favor of the Conference Report on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, a bill creating a comprehensive opioid abuse reduction program that will provide targeted focus on how to tackle the massive problem of substance abuse – through prevention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, law enforcement, and overdose reversal. Congressman Ryan was the lead Democratic sponsor of CARA in the House of Representatives. This bill has passed the House and is waiting on final passage in the Senate.

“This week, Summit County experienced 19 overdoses within 24 hours. This number is shocking and not unique to Ohio; this is an epidemic that has touched every corner of our country – no matter your race, gender, religion, socio-economic status or political party. As a country we can no longer turn a blind eye to those men and women who are suffering from the disease of addiction. These individuals are mothers and fathers who will not see their children grow up, college students who won’t see adulthood, teachers, firefighters, friends, and neighbors. Our communities need help, and with the passage of this bill we can increase access to treatment, expand the availability of naloxone, provide education and community-based prevention programs, and strengthen recovery services to our local communities,” said Congressman Ryan. “While I am disappointed that this bill didn’t provide additional funding, I believe it is a step in the right direction. Through my position on the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to push Congressional leadership to increase funding for this epidemic so we can provide law enforcement officers, public health officials, community leaders, and educators the resources and services they need to respond efficiently and effectively."

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 expands prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids, increases the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other responders, and strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.  Furthermore, it creates a grant program to states to carry out a comprehensive opioid abuse response, reauthorizes a grant program for residential treatment for pregnant and postpartum women who have an opioid-use disorder and for their children, and expands prescription drug take-back programs.

Congressman Ryan is a Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus and a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic.