Obama Signs Opioid Legislation To Address Opioid Epidemic

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Obama Signs Opioid Legislation To Address Opioid Epidemic

On Friday, President Obama signed a bill into law which will address the nation’s continuing opioid epidemic. However, there are still some funding issues.

President Obama:

“This legislation includes some modest steps to address the opioid epidemic. Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none.”

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Using this analysis, in 2014 there were over 14,000 deaths involving prescription opioids, which is the equivalent to about 40 deaths per day.

In addition, between 2013-2014, heroin overdose death rates increased by 26%, with over 10,500 people dying in 2014.

About the Bill

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 has several components. Critically, the availability of the anti-overdose drug Narcan (naloxone) will be increased.

Also, prescription drug monitoring programs will be enhanced to help track drug diversion, and prevention and education initiatives will be expanded.

The bill, oft known as CARA, allows for $181 million in spending for the programs set forth in the legislation. However, many groups believe that the bill doesn’t go far enough to battle the opioid epidemic, particularly when it comes to spending.

For example, some believe the government should also consider funding programs which will advance research in pain treatment and management.

Brief Summary of Provisions of CARA:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts…to promote treatment and recovery.
  • Increase the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses.
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders.
  • Increase disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
  • Launch a medication assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Related: Older Adults With COPD At Increased Mortality Risk From Opioid Painkillers

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