Ayotte Helps Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Combat Drug Addiction and Support Granite Staters in Recovery


Date: Feb. 18, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Drugs

As more and more Granite Staters fall victim to drug addiction and overdoses from prescription opioids and heroin, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is renewing her efforts to help turn the tide in the struggle against these epidemics. She recently joined Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and others in reintroducing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies to combat addiction and support individuals in recovery.

"In New Hampshire and across the nation, we're facing prescription opioid abuse and heroin addiction crises," said Ayotte. "This bipartisan legislation includes important steps to improve treatment for those struggling with addiction, increase prevention efforts, ensure law enforcement has greater access to tools to fight drug abuse, support those in recovery, and develop best practices for treatment, intervention, and pain management."

Drug addiction and overdoses from prescription opioids and heroin are very serious problems in New Hampshire as families across the state have been affected by the epidemic. Last year, Courtney Griffin of Newton tragically lost her life due to a drug overdose after a years-long struggle with addiction. Her father, Doug Griffin, is committed to sharing her story in an effort to prevent similar tragedies. "I feel this piece of legislation is vital as the tidal wave of opioid addiction has washed across our state," Griffin said. "Recovery from addiction is possible and even probable with proper care and long-term treatment. It's time to remove the stigma and to treat those suffering with addiction with the care they deserve. These are ours sons and daughters and they need a path to recovery."

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 would:

* Expand prevention and educational efforts-particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations-to prevent the abuse of prescription opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.

* Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help reverse overdoses and save lives.

* Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from substance use disorders by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.

* Expand 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 interventions program. While we have medications that can help treat addiction, there is a critical need to get the training and resources necessary to expand treatment best practices throughout the country.

* Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

* Require a GAO report on the impact of the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion on access to treatment for individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD). Asks GAO to look into whether certain policy changes to the IMD Exclusion, including repealing it, would enhance treatment options for individuals with a SUD.