All over the country, decision-makers have tried to find effective ways of alleviating the widespread suffering of many individuals who are in the throes of active addiction, especially in states with particularly high rates of addiction such as Ohio and Rhode Island.
As such, politicians from those two states have spearheaded an actionable plan that will incentivize addiction treatment and, therefore, increase nationwide recovery efforts.
What Is the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the year 2010, there were nearly 40,000 annual deaths in the United States due to drug overdose. This means there are more deaths from drugs than there are deaths caused by automobiles and guns. Moreover, estimates place the number of Americans currently suffering from addiction at around 10 percent of the population, which is one out of every 10 individuals.
As such, many states are taking matters into their own hands, creating actionable legislation that will help to curb the astonishingly high rates of addiction we are experiencing today. Therefore, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) co-authored new legislation in the fall of 2014 that they referred to as the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act, or CARA, which suggested specific steps that could be taken to fight addiction and give support to those who are in recovery or who want to overcome the disease of addiction.
The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act was intended to promote cooperation between state and local governments, educators, healthcare providers, and others in a strategy that starts at the bottom and works upward.
As written, the legislation would (1) expand prevention efforts through education—aimed at teens, parents and caretakers, and aging populations in particular—to discourage the abuse of heroin and other opioids, (2) make naloxone more readily available to law enforcement and emergency first-responders as a means of overdose reversal, (3) increase the availability of addiction treatment resources for individuals who are incarcerated and in need of recovery treatments, (4) launch a number of evidence-based opioid addiction treatment and prevention initiatives nationwide, (5) strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to track and prevent drug diversion, and (6) expand disposal programs for unwanted or unusable drugs in order to keep them out of children’s and adolescents’ hands.
Rallying for Recovery in Ohio & Elsewhere
Despite being the birthplace of twelve-step recovery with Bill Wilson’s conception of Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, Ohio has experienced exceptionally high rates of addiction in recent years. In 2012, it was estimated that about five people die from drug overdose in Ohio every day, which is largely due to lingering prescription pain medication addiction as well as the surge in heroin addiction that occurred as a result of the policy and formula changes that made prescription medications more difficult to abuse. However, progress seems imminent as the Ohio Department of Health has increased funding for statewide addiction treatment, and even the governor has his own task force called the Opiate Action team, which is tasked with developing new strategies for fighting the addiction epidemic.
Last fall in 2014, marked the 25th anniversary of September’s National Recovery Month, which many Ohioans celebrated by attending the Rally for Recovery at the Statehouse. In fact, National Recovery Month is known for being the time of year during which there are various recovery-centric, public gatherings that occur around the country. Rally for Recovery and similar events are an empowering experience and represent an effort to overcome the stigma that individuals in recovery often face, proving to themselves as well as other attendees and public officials who are also in attendance that recovery is not only possible, but recovering addicts can actually thrive.
CARA Continues to Gain Support on Capitol Hill
Unfortunately, the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act was not passed when it was originally presented to Congress in 2014. However, there have seen been a number of public events and organizations that have aligned themselves with the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act, which was reintroduced at Congress earlier this year in February 2015 and gained additional support in the form of numerous Senators and members of the House. As Recovery Month 2015 came to a close, the legislation had gained a number of nontraditional partners such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Young People for Recovery, and the National Association of District Attorneys with the consensus being that Congress must pass CARA.
On October 4, 2015, many familiar celebrity faces—Sheryl Crowe, Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh, and others—as well as thousands of recovered addicts and their loved ones gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the UNITE to Face Addiction Rally, which further increased public awareness and showed the vast support that’s behind the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act. While the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act has still not yet been enacted into law, it’s beginning to look like an inevitability.
Find Freedom in Recovery
Addiction is a disease that develops differently for each individual. Moreover, the effects and symptoms of addiction also vary widely from one addict to the next. As such, there are a number of recovery tools available, ensuring that each addict receives the individualized care he or she needs to overcome chemical dependency. If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction and would benefit from learning more about treatment, Drug Treatment Center Finder is here to help. Call 1-855-619-8070 today for a free consultation and assessment with one of our recovery specialists. A better, healthier life is only a phone call away with Drug Treatment Center Finder.