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Government & Politics

Sen. Portman's Bill to Combat Opioid Abuse Passes the Senate Judiciary

photo of Sen. Portman
U.S. SENATE

A bill to combat heroin addiction has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports on the next step for the legislation by Ohio’s Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act aims to prevent opioid abuse by expanding the availability of Naloxone to law enforcement and first responders. The drug helps to reverse heroin overdoses. Portman’s bill also aims to expand the number of disposal sites for unneeded prescription medications.

The senator says he’s been assured his bill will reach the Senate floor, and he’s hopeful that will happen in the next month.

“It is comprehensive. It is evidence-based. [It’s] supported by over 120 groups around the country including the people who work in the trenches: doctors, nurses, first responders [and] those in recovery.”

Portman's bill – also known as CARA -- has bipartisan support, and Portman says it should be a non-partisan issue.

“I also was very pleased to see the President’s budget has more funding proposed for the next 10 years; he proposes additional funding consistent with CARA. We just had a hearing on that. I talked to the secretary about that so I told her that I supported what the president was doing in that regard.”

Ohio’s other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, has also introduced a bill to combat opioid abuse. His would offer a needle exchange program and offer financial support to those treating substance abuse.