A Legal Action Center public policy priority

Legal Action Center is advocating for passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015!

According to LAC’s landmark report, Confronting an Epidemic: The Case for Eliminating Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment of Heroin and Opioid Addiction

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in America, surpassing traffic fatalities at the beginning of this decade with more than 36,000 deaths annually. Opioid pain relievers pose an increasingly dangerous threat to public health, leading to more deaths than those from all illegal drugs combined. Meanwhile, heroin dependence and use more than doubled in just ten years, rising from an estimated 214,000 users in 2002 to 467,000 in 2012.

Despite the devastating toll of this epidemic – both human and financial – a demonstrably effective medical response to the scourge of opioid addiction is tragically, and senselessly, underutilized: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). A broad range of barriers prevents Americans with substance use disorders (SUDs) from getting vital treatments they desperately need.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would authorize a multi-faceted federal response to the opioid epidemic by:

  • Creating grant programs to demonstrate the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment in the community as well as for those involved in the criminal justice system;
  • Expanding opportunities to address drug-related crimes in the community using alternatives to incarceration;
  • Supporting a range of drug treatment options;
  • Educating the public and first responders about heroin and other opioids and options for treatment and recovery
  • Creating post-secondary education programs for people incarcerated in prison
  • Authorizing a task force to examine the collateral consequences of conviction that create barriers to employment, education, housing, public benefits, and participation in other life-activities.

Get Involved!

You can help get Congress to pass this critical legislation. Here’s how:


CARA in the House of Representatives, H.R. 953

Do you want to know more about the House version of CARA, H.R. 953? Click here.


CARA in the Senate, S. 524

Do you want to know more about the Senate version of CARA, S. 524? Click here.


Sample Tweet and Talking Points

Sample Tweet
I support the Comprehensive #Addiction and Recovery Act (#CARA) w/ @LAC_news bc treatment and recovery save lives. http://ow.ly/MhpkC
Sample talking points
  • Opioid misuse and addiction are on the rise, and there is an epidemic of overdoses that is costing 100 American lives a day.
  • The United States needs a comprehensive strategy to combat heroin addiction and other substance use disorders.
  • The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would expand access to medication-assisted treatment and other services that are scientifically proven to reduce drug misuse and criminal justice involvement.
  • Even with more treatment, heroin overdoses will occur. CARA will provide resources to expand the use of Naloxone, a medication that can reverse overdoses before they become fatal.
  • CARA would also reduce reliance on expensive and counter-productive incarceration for drug problems that could be better addressed through treatment and supervision.

For more information or media inquiries

Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, Director of Policy

[email protected]


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