Senate Blocks $600 Million in Additional Funding for Bill Aimed at Combating Addiction

Senate Blocks $600 Million in Additional Funding for Bill Aimed at Combating Addiction

The Senate voted against an amendment to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) that would have added $600 million in funding.

The bill would increase addiction treatment and prevention.

The amendment was sponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat. Senate Democrats said they will not block the legislation over funding, The Washington Post reports.

Senate Republicans argue that there are potentially hundreds of millions available for CARA as part of the omnibus spending bill passed in late 2015, The Hill reports.

Five Republicans voted along with Democrats on Wednesday for the additional funding for CARA.

The Act is sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a Democrat, and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican. The bill has bipartisan support and would expand prescription drug take-back programs and establish monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

The measure also calls for training and equipping first responders on the use of the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

CARA calls for spending as much as $80 million on treatment, prevention and recovery. It does not include actual funding, which would have to come through an appropriations bill.

The Obama Administration on Tuesday voiced concern over the lack of funding in the bill.

After the vote, Senator Shaheen said she will continue to fight fight “until we get the resources that families and communities need” to combat opioid abuse.
A final vote on the legislation could happen as early as this week, the newspaper notes.

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