Grassley Leads Bipartisan Addiction Recovery Bill to Passage in Senate

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley marshaled the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to final passage today. The bill, which combats the rising heroin and opioid epidemic, passed in the Judiciary Committee without opposition in February. The bill passed the full Senate today by a vote of 94-1. 

“The heroin and opioid epidemic is taking lives and shattering families in Iowa and across our country, so I’m grateful that my colleagues have come together to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This bill will help to combat the scourge that affects all walks of life through expanded access to life-saving overdose reversal drugs, increased prevention education, a renewed focus on addiction recovery. Fighting addiction is a bipartisan issue, and requires bipartisan consideration, which is why we included the viewpoints and amendments of many senators throughout the debate process. The House of Representatives should now move swiftly to get this bill to the President’s desk so we can begin to provide relief for American families,” Grassley said.

More than 120 Americans die each day from drug overdoses. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would help to stem these tragedies by expanding law enforcement and first responders’ access to naloxone, a fast-acting medication that can reverse the deadly effects of opioid overdoses. The bill requires that a fixed portion of this grant money be used to support rural areas, like much of Iowa, where access to emergency healthcare can be limited.

Recognizing that addiction to methamphetamine is also plaguing communities across the country, including in Iowa, the bill authorizes grants for communities facing local drug crises related to either severe opioid or methamphetamine addiction, and reauthorizes both the heroin and methamphetamine task forces that support state law enforcement.

To treat addiction and assist in recovery, the bill launches an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand the use of best practices nationwide. It also establishes a medication assisted treatment demonstration program, and helps to identify and treat non-violent individuals struggling with addiction who encounter the criminal justice system.

The bill also expands prevention efforts by authorizing additional public education programs, increasing unused prescription drug disposal sites and strengthening prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion.

The bill authorizes $77.9 million of previously appropriated funds to be used immediately to combat this epidemic, and allows the congressional appropriators, who set annual funding levels to spend as much as $311.6 million over next four years as necessary to support these efforts.

The bill is supported by a range of stakeholders, including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the National District Attorneys Association, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Association of Attorneys General, and many organizations in the treatment and recovery communities.