Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act Passed Unanimously by House Judiciary Committee
Addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and other prescription pain medicines, has a devastating hold on this country.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 (COARA), legislation introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).
Addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and other prescription pain medicines, has a devastating hold on this country. Between 435,000 and 1.5 million people in the United States currently use heroin, and an alarming number of them are younger than 25 years old.
Between 2002 and 2013, national heroin deaths nearly quadrupled, reaching more than 8,000 annually by 2013. Beyond health care costs, other significant economic burdens are associated with opioid abuse, such as costs related to criminal justice and lost workplace productivity. In total, opioid abuse imposes an estimated $55 billion in societal costs annually.
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 creates a comprehensive opioid abuse reduction program at the Department of Justice, which will direct federal resources for drug abuse programs directly at the opioid problem. This bill will give states and localities flexibility to attack opioid abuse issues unique to their communities.
The comprehensive grant program created by H.R. 5046 is fully offset, meaning it successfully directs funds to address the opioid epidemic by taking advantage of existing funding. The result is no net increase in spending authorizations and no additional burden on the American taxpayer, which is a responsible, good-government approach to this epidemic.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Today’s unanimous passage of the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act signals the seriousness of heroin and opioid addiction in America and the immediate need for action. It also demonstrates the commitment from lawmakers to address this issue and pass meaningful, bipartisan legislation that will extend a helping hand to the individuals, families, and communities that desperately need it. I’m optimistic about the future of this legislation and the positive impact it will have throughout this nation.”