On March 10, 2016, The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) passed the Senate with a near-unanimous vote, 94-1. If you’re not familiar, you can read more about the Act here, but in a nut shell, it aims to help with our nation’s growing heroin and opioid epidemics. Like most of the industry, we’re pretty excited about it here at Recovery Brands and here’s why:
1. It’s Comprehensive
Just as the name says, the Act is comprehensive. It covers a lot of core areas including prevention and education, criminal justice, recovery initiatives, increased treatment access for women and veterans, and first responder training to name a few. Aiding in America’s recovery requires a collective effort from all branches of the government, community and healthcare system; and the tenants of this bill are far-reaching, making it well-poised to catalyze movement in each of these sectors.
2. It Signals a Shift in Perspective
Having our government alter its approach from demonization/criminalization to one of more rational and pragmatic action is hugely encouraging. Unanimous support for anything in Washington seems mind-boggling, so the fact that there was only one opposing vote is a testament to the fact that we all can understand that addiction can affect anyone, and treatment must be a priority. Addiction is beginning to be approached for what it is – a public health issue that demands adequate resources and treatment options.
3. It Paves the Way
We have a long way to go – we must continue to battle the stigma of addiction, increase treatment access for all Americans and for all types of addictions, and obviously develop national standards for evidence-based best practices for effective and successful addiction treatment. That said, we believe the CARA Act will be instrumental in preparing our government as well as our society for these sorts of conversations and considerations down the line. Let’s hope the buck doesn’t stop here.
It’s important to note that while we’re excited, things aren’t set in stone just yet. The bill still needs to pass votes from the House of Representatives as well as the President. This could result in amendments made to the bill, but we – for one – are looking forward to the outcome. At the end of the day, this is something will help elevate the conversation around addiction treatment in our nation and no matter how that looks, it’s highly beneficial to those in need of help.