President Barack Obama was lauded for enacting a law that pledges to do more to protect drug-dependent newborns by New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick, who said, “the war on drugs has failed to solve America’s substance abuse problems and it is far past the time to try a different approach.”
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) also stresses drug treatment and overdose prevention to help curtail the nation’s heroin and opioid drug epidemic but Democrats say GOP lawmakers failed to put money where their mouth is.
The law is an authorization to battle heroin and other controlled drug addictions; but the actual money for that fight must be approved by Congress and that’s at least two years away from happening.
Noting that every day, 78 Americans die from overdoses, Obama said, “I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need. In fact, they blocked efforts by Democrats to include $920 million in treatment funding.
“Until lawmakers fund this program, CARA is like a life preserver without any air in it,” McCormick said. “I join President Obama in calling for Republicans to finish the job by adequately funding America’s response to this public health crisis.”
“There is simply no excuse for Congress providing billions in emergency funding for the Ebola and swine flu epidemics, while skimping on the fight against an opioid epidemic that’s killing 78 people every day in the United States,” McCormick said.
“CARA requires that the federal government and every state follow a 2003 statute that was routinely ignored, calling on states to require hospitals and social services to report, track and assist drug-dependent newborns and their families,” said McCormick. “Most children born to addicted mothers, including many who were taking prescribed methadone, were not being reported by hospitals as required by law because medical workers feared involving child protective services.”
“Opioid addiction has taken a devastating toll on families in New Jersey and across the country,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, who co-sponsored the bill to combat what he called an ‘alarming crisis.’ “We cannot stand idly by and watch this growing epidemic jeopardize the health and welfare of so many of our friends and neighbors.”
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdose deaths hit an all-time high in 2014. The number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has soared in the United States in recent years, more than quadrupling since 1999.
“The new law takes a non-punitive approach that includes ‘safe care plans’ aimed at keeping newborns at home with their parents, who will receive the help they need,” said McCormick.
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