U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is voicing his support for a bill that aims to curb the opioid and heroin abuse epidemics. He says the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) includes many of the same provisions as a bill he and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte reintroduced last year.
Notably, CARA would expand access to drugs designed to combat overdoses, something Donnelly emphasized while speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday. “We need to make the overdose reversal drug naloxone more readily available to first responders and law enforcement,” he said. “CARA includes a provision similar to one from by bill with Senator Ayotte that provides grants to train law enforcement and other first responders in the administration of naloxone to save lives.”
During his comments, Donnelly also praised the efforts Indiana first responders have undertaken to address drug abuse epidemics, “In Northwest Indiana, the Porter County Sheriff’s Department is reaching out to educate families about the heroin crisis there, with a video that includes first-person accounts about how the epidemic has impacted the local community.” Drug abuse awareness is another big part of CARA. The bill also includes provisions to educate health care providers so they can make better decisions when prescribing painkillers.
Donnelly said drug abuse is an issue that effects everyone, “No part of Indiana or our country is immune from the pain of addiction and these drug epidemics. By now, many of us have heard the staggering statistics. One person in America dies every 25 minutes from an opioid overdose, and overdose deaths in the United States now outnumber fatal auto accidents.”
While he called for a quick passage of CARA, Donnelly is also suggesting some changes to the legislation.
These include an amendment that aims to provide followup visits to people who have been given naloxone.