MANCHESTER, NH — Following the Senate’s passage last week of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), Senator Kelly Ayotte visited HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery in Manchester on Monday, where she hosted a roundtable discussion about how the bill will support local efforts to address the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic. She also received an update from members of the community working on the front lines of this crisis.
Other participants included: Melissa Crews, HOPE for NH Recovery; Tim Soucy, Public Health Director, Manchester Health Dept; Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard; Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush; and Christopher Stawasz, Regional Director, American Medical Response of MA, Inc
“Their input continues to be invaluable to my efforts to help address this critical issue, and I will continue to work to ensure that they have the resources they need and to urge my colleagues in the House to pass this important legislation,” Ayotte said.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 would:
- Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of prescription opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.
- Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help reverse overdoses and save lives.
- Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from substance use disorders by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
- Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
- Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program. While we have medications that can help treat addiction, there is a critical need to get the training and resources necessary to expand treatment best practices throughout the country.
- Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
- Require a GAO report on the impact of the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion on access to treatment for individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD). Asks GAO to look into whether certain policy changes to the IMD Exclusion, including repealing it, would enhance treatment options for individuals with a SUD.
Also present Monday for the roundtable: Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas; Dana Lemire, HOPE for NH Recovery Volunteer and person in recovery; Jessica Wheeler, person in recovery for 10 months; Doug and Pam Griffin, parents of Courtney Griffin, who lost her life to a heroin and fentanyl overdose; Aaron Goodro, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Plaistow; and Dr. William Goodman, Chief Medical Officer, Catholic Medical Center.
Sen. Ayotte helped introduce CARA and has been working to pass the legislation for nearly two years. The bill will increase support for prevention, treatment, first responders and individuals in recovery and has been backed by more than 130 stakeholders, including the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Faces and Voices of Recovery, and many others. Following the Senate’s action last week, Ayotte called on the House of Representatives to take up and pass the bill immediately.
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