The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) was signed into law on July 22, 2016. It emerged in response to the escalating opioid epidemic that had reached crisis proportions in the United States. Opioid-related deaths, prescription drug abuse, and heroin addiction were on the rise, prompting policymakers to take decisive action. CARA represented a bipartisan effort to tackle the multifaceted issue of substance abuse and addiction, addressing prevention, treatment, recovery, and support services.
Primary Objectives of CARA
One of the central objectives of CARA is to expand access to substance abuse treatment services. The law emphasizes the importance of making evidence-based treatment options more readily available to those in need. This includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other forms of therapy and counseling.
CARA recognizes the significance of prevention and education in curbing the opioid epidemic. The policy aims to enhance public awareness and education about the risks of prescription drug abuse and the consequences of substance abuse.
CARA acknowledges the crucial role of law enforcement and first responders in addressing substance abuse issues, especially in cases of overdose. The policy seeks to provide training and resources to these personnel to effectively respond to overdose situations and connect individuals with treatment and support services.
CARA places a strong emphasis on supporting individuals in their journey to recovery. This includes initiatives to help individuals reintegrate into their communities, gain employment, and access housing and support services.
CARA recognizes the importance of monitoring and controlling the prescription of opioids. It promotes the enhancement of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to track prescription patterns and identify potential cases of overprescribing or doctor shopping.
CARA emphasizes the need for comprehensive research and data collection related to substance abuse and addiction. It supports efforts to gather data on opioid overdose deaths, treatment outcomes, and other relevant metrics.
The policy recognizes the unique challenges faced by veterans and service members in relation to substance abuse and mental health. It aims to provide specialized support and treatment options for this population.