Carper Statement on Passage of Legislation to Address America’s Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after the Senate approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation to battle the nation’s opioid and heroin epidemic, by a vote of 94 to 1.

“The Senate has taken an important step toward curbing our country’s prescription drug and heroin epidemic, which has caused irreparable harm to families and communities alike. Far too often, we are reminded of its heartbreaking human toll. Overdoses of opioid pain relievers and heroin kill thousands of Americans each year, and are to blame for more deaths in this country than any other legal or illegal drug. In Delaware, we know all too well how addiction to opioids and heroin ruins the lives of individuals and breaks the hearts of their families who are witnesses to their struggle.

“Substance abuse is a multi-faceted problem with consequences for everyone. I’ve often said that we as a country pay too much attention to the symptoms of problems, rather than trying to fix the underlying causes. Today, we came together across party lines to change our course and make real progress to get to the root of the problem.  However, we’ve only addressed half of the battle because this bill makes no investment in making the programs we’ve authorized today a reality. Plainly said, without funding, these proposals are just well-intentioned words on paper. We can, and should, do better, and I have already joined many of my colleagues in support of our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee who will work to provide funding to fully implement this bill.

“It’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck effort to address the opioid epidemic, and I hope my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, will now join me in keeping the promises we’ve made in this legislation. We must move forward quickly with appropriations bills that provide robust funding for the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to do the work we’ve asked of them to help save the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.”