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Cummings and Warren Introduce Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Apr 18, 2018
Press Release

Cummings and Warren Introduce

Comprehensive Legislation to

Combat Opioid Epidemic

 

Bold New Proposal Modeled Directly on

Proven Ryan White Program for HIV/AIDS

 

Washington, D.C. (Apr. 18, 2018)—Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced H.R. 5545, the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, to provide the resources needed to begin treating the opioid crisis like the critical public health emergency it is.

The CARE Act is modeled directly on the bipartisan Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, which was enacted nearly 30 years ago to support federal investments and local decision-making to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  During the 1980s and 1990s, deaths from HIV/AIDS grew rapidly, and the country’s medical system was ill-equipped to provide effective, evidence-based care.  In 1990, Congress passed the Ryan White bill to provide significant new funding to help state and local governments combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

We can’t defeat the opioid crisis with empty words and half measures,” said Senator Warren.  “Our bill will funnel millions of dollars directly to the hardest-hit communities and give them the tools to fight back.  Congress has acted before to root out an epidemic when it finally took action against HIV/AIDS—and Americans across the country are counting on us to do the same today.”

“The opioid epidemic does not discriminate based on politics.  It is devastating communities in red states, blue states, and purple states, and it is terrorizing families that are wealthy, poor, and everywhere in between.  We need to learn from the past to develop a strong approach for the future.  It is time for Congress to come together, put politics aside, and get to the heart of the problem—providing adequate and stable funding for states and local communities.  Our bill does exactly that,” said Ranking Member Cummings.

The CARE Act provides $100 billion in federal funding over ten years, including:

o   $4 billion per year to states, territories, and tribal governments, including $2 billion to states with the highest levels of overdoses, $1.6 billion through competitive grants, and $400 million for grants to tribal governments;

o   $2.7 billion per year to the hardest hit counties and cities, including $1.43 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses, $1 billion through competitive grants, and $270 million for grants to tribal governments; 

o   $1.8 billion per year for public health surveillance, biomedical research, and improved training for health professionals, including $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regional tribal epidemiology centers, and $400 million to train and provide technical assistance to professionals treating substance use disorders;

o   $1 billion per year to support expanded and innovative service delivery, including $500 million for public and nonprofit entities and $500 million for projects of national significance that provide treatment, prevention, recovery, and harm reduction services; and

o   $500 million per year to expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone and provide this life-saving medicine to states to distribute to first responders, public health departments, and the public.

Today, Cummings and Warren also released a staff report with state-by-state fact sheets estimating the amount of federal funding available under the CARE Act to each state.

The legislation has been endorsed by the following organizations:  AIDS United; amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research; Association for Behavioral Healthcare; Baltimore City Health Department; Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; Drug Policy Alliance;  Harm Reduction Coalition; Massachusetts Medical Society; National Association of Counties; National Association of County and City Health Officials; National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors; National Council for Behavioral Health; National HIDTA Directors Association; National Indian Health Board; Seattle Indian Health Board; United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund; and Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Former Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the authors of the Ryan White Act; Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner; Kelly J. Clark, President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine; and Ames Grawert, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law also released statements of support for the bill.

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to read a one-pager on the bill. 

Click here to read a section-by-section.

Click here to read the staff report with state-by-state fact sheets.

Click here to read statements of support from experts and policymakers. 

Click here to read the Cummings and Warren op-ed in USA Today.

115th Congress