Shaheen Statement on Signing of Shaheen-Sponsored Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)

July 22, 2016

**CARA includes Shaheen’s legislation to support state prescription drug monitoring programs through the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program that will now head to the President’s desk** 

**Shaheen is leading the effort in Congress to pass emergency funding for law enforcement and treatment providers on the frontlines of the opioid crisis**

 

(Manchester, NH) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement on today’s signing of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) by President Obama. CARA authorizes support for treatment providers and law enforcement’s efforts to combat drug trafficking, though it does not provide funding for these programs. CARA also includes Shaheen’slegislation to support state prescription drug monitoring programs by reauthorizing the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) program, which provides grants to states to maintain, improve, and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs.

"Today the President signed into law good bipartisan legislation that is an important step toward addressing the opioid addiction epidemic that is overwhelming communities in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Shaheen. “CARA is the product of hard work and negotiations, but while it's progress, it unfortunately lacks the funding desperately needed by law enforcement and treatment professionals on the frontlines of this crisis. There is simply no excuse for Congress providing billions in emergency funding for the Ebola and swine flu epidemics, while shortchanging the fight against an opioid epidemic that’s killing a person a day in the Granite State.‎ I will continue to do everything I can to pass legislation to provide the long overdue funding necessary to stem the opioid crisis." 

Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to pass emergency supplemental funding for those on the frontlines of the opioid addiction crisis. Her legislation would provide supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that focus on treatment and recovery, as well as state and local law enforcement initiatives. In June, the Senate passed a motion filed by Shaheen to instruct lawmakers reconciling the House and Senate versions of the Shaheen-sponsored CARA to include funding to states for prevention and treatment.

Key facts on the need to provide funding for CARA:

  • CARA doesn’t provide funding, but only recommends funding levels that still need to be approved by Congress in an appropriations bill.
  • Congress is still working on appropriations bills for next year, but currently they do not contain funding for CARA. Appropriations bills cannot fund legislation that hasn’t been authorized yet.
  • CARA will likely be funded in next year’s appropriations bills for FY2018.
  • That means that it won’t be until 2018 that federal agencies will be able to determine how much CARA funding will go to New Hampshire. Congress cannot direct spending to specific states.
  • Bottom line: it will very likely be as much as two years until New Hampshire sees any funding related to CARA. 

Why Shaheen’s emergency funding legislation is necessary for New Hampshire:

  • Appropriations bills currently working their way through Congress have an increase of approximately $120 million for opioid response programs, but again, this funding would go out next year and is not nearly enough to mount an appropriate response to the opioid epidemic.
  • According to NH officials and local leaders, the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program has been the most valuable federal program for New Hampshire as it responds to the opioid epidemic, yet these bills do not provide an increase for this key program.
  • Emergency funding, if it were to pass Congress, would be dispensed by agencies this year. Senator Shaheen’s bill would provide $600 million immediately to state and local programs, including $300 million for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.
  • Bottom line: to prevent states like New Hampshire from having to wait two years for CARA-related funding and funding for programs that are already working, Congress needs to pass emergency funding. Unfortunately, Republicans have rejected multiple attempts to pass emergency funding.