Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly introduced an amendment to federal legislation Wednesday that addresses the national opioid and heroin use epidemic.
The legislation would give money to state and local response programs.
Donnelly’s proposed amendment is part of the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. The legislation would fund state and local programs that address prescription practices, improve treatment and expand access to opioid abuse prevention and education methods.
“It encourages first responder units that receive these grants to use outreach coordinators to make sure that individuals who receive naloxone also get an in-person follow up to get connected with treatment or other services,” Donnelly explains.
Donnelly says the legislation would provide programs to help establish best prescribing practices.
“We want to make sure doctors have the training the tools and the resources to prevent overprescribing and to help them make good decisions about how to treat their patients,” he says.
The bill includes provisions adopted from legislation that Donnelly and Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire introduced in 2014.
The CARA legislation is expected to pass this week but there is currently no money attached. Some of the proposed grant funding could come from the $400 million that Congress has already put aside to fight opioid abuse.