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September 21, 2018

National Commander, Sen. Portman Support Legislation to Fight Opioid Crisis

In 2016, more than 63,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, more than the total number killed during the Vietnam War. About two-thirds involved opioids. 

The wave of opioid addiction has not yet crested. 

Emergency rooms are saturated, first responders stretched thin, courtrooms flooded, the workforce dwindling, and—due to the increasing prevalence of fentanyl—even people unknowingly exposed to opioids are at risk of harm or even death.

The opioid crisis affects every aspect of our communities… That’s why we have partnered to highlight ways we can all come together to solve this crisis.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) signed into law in 2016 provided federal resources for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs to break the cycle of addiction.

The Salvation Army has been treating addictions since its inception in the East End of London in the late 1880s. Today, the Army treats 173,000 people a year in its 139 rehabilitation centers across the America. The Harbor Light Complex in Cleveland, which we have both seen firsthand, assists more than 1,500 people each year. It provides medically assisted detox for addiction. About 75 percent of those who receive treatment move on to the next levels of care, where they can find housing, an outpatient support network and a community to help overcome their addiction.

CARA 2.0, a bipartisan bill introduced in February, will continue CARA’s progress.

The recent federal budget agreement includes $6 billion over the next two years to combat the opioid epidemic. CARA 2.0 will serve as a road map for Congress to spend $1 billion toward programs that help individuals overcome addiction—and, just as important, help stop addiction before it starts.

Opioids have overtaken our communities—only together can we overcome and take them back.

Excerpted from blog by Commissioner David Hudson, National Commander and Ohio Senator Rob Portman

CARA 2.0 was introduced last March and is still in the first stage of the legislative process—ready for committee referral and review. Full text at http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/384792-we-must-all-come-together-to-overcome-the-opioid-epidemic

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