Last week President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 524, which is also known as the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). It is targeted primarily at the nation’s opioid problem, and has been praised as a bipartisan effort to begin to work together toward providing more solutions to the plague of heroin and painkiller addiction.
However, in addition to the acknowledgment, the President also expressed discontent regarding the lack of funding being provided by Congress. He commented, “Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none. However, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need…My Administration has been doing everything we can to increase access to treatment, and I’m going to continue fighting to secure the funding families desperately need. In recent days, the law enforcement community, advocates, physicians, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have also joined in this call.”
In an NPR article about the Bill’s passage before it was signed into law, Senator Lamar Alexander (R – Tenn.) said that they have been increasing funding for treatment. “Our friends on the other side say, you have to fund it. We are funding it. And they helped fund it. We’ve increased funding for opioids already by 542 percent.”
Although it seems like there is a long way to go, hopefully the two parties can set their differences aside to help save more lives. The issue shouldn’t be a political one, and each side should look to come together to find ways to provide more funding for treatment. If one side is unwilling to spend more, but the other side is unwilling to cut elsewhere, then there should be a compromise of somewhere in between.