Senate Passes Landmark Opioid Legislation; Includes Two Provisions Secured by Senator McConnell

Mitch McConnell

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised Senate passage of the landmark opioid legislation today. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018contains two bills sponsored by Senator McConnell. The first is the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act, which expands grants and targets funding for treatment, transitional housing, job training and placement services to help individuals in recovery find their footing and maintain their sobriety. The second is the Protecting Moms and Infants Act, which will refine our federal efforts to combat the effects of opioids on expecting mothers and their unborn children.

“I am proud that my CAREER Act, which focuses on addiction’s impact on American workers and their families, and my measure to help the increasing number of vulnerable infants born dependent on opioids are included in this comprehensive bill to fight back against the scourge of addiction through prevention, enforcement, and treatment efforts. Community, health-care, and business leaders agree that stable employment and transitional housing are vitally linked to helping individuals in recovery maintain long-term sobriety,” Senator McConnell said. “A comprehensive crisis demands a comprehensive solution, and that’s exactly what this landmark legislation is. First, this legislation will help cut off the opioid crisis at its roots. It will stop more drugs at the border, improve interstate monitoring, and encourage reform of prescription dosing. It will encourage recovery, through more resources for state and local responders, better access to care for patients, and more support for the families and caregivers of those affected. And this legislation looks to the future, by supporting long-term medical research and economic solutions to get our country past this vicious cycle.”

Earlier this year, Senator McConnell introduced the CAREER Act, which will support transitional housing options for those in recovery while they work to secure a longer-term living arrangement. It also encourages local businesses and treatment groups to form partnerships to help individuals in recovery find and maintain employment following treatment. He also introduced the Protecting Moms and Infants Act. This legislation builds on Senator McConnell’s 2015 bill, the Protecting Our Infants Act, which was the first federal law to specifically address prenatal opioid exposure. The measure requires the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a report regarding the implementation of the strategy for treating neonatal abstinence syndrome that was required by passage of the Protecting Our Infants Act. It also authorizes an increase in funding for a competitive federal grant that assists organizations with addressing this particular challenge within the broader opioid crisis.

“The pain that opioid addiction and drug abuse has inflicted on families across America is almost unfathomable. The effects of this emergency compound themselves. The crisis can eat away at family ties, at community institutions, at economic opportunities — precisely the things that are necessary to lift Americans out of addiction and into recovery. With this landmark legislation, the Senate has risen to the moment. It’s no wonder that experts and advocates representing more than 200 organizations on the front lines of the opioid crisis have publicly called on the Senate to act,” Senator McConnell added.


Dave Adkisson, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said, “Kentucky’s business community is acutely aware of the state’s growing opioid epidemic and recognizes it is more than a public health or law enforcement issue. The crisis has become a workforce issue and employers are feeling its impact firsthand. We commend Senator McConnell for stepping up and providing leadership by introducing the CAREER Act, which provides patients in recovery the resources they need to return to healthy, productive lives and re-enter the workforce.”


Anthony Zipple, CEO of Centerstone Kentucky, said, “We thank Senator McConnell for his vision and leadership in crafting the CAREER Act – a bill that will authorize grants for entities that help individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder transition into the workforce. At Centerstone, we believe that anyone who desires to work can and should do so. For individuals recovering from substance use disorders, in particular, employment can play a critical role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Work offers a predictable means of meeting financial obligations, a way of earning the respect of colleagues, and an opportunity to thrive in safe and sober environments. The CAREER Act will play a meaningful role in extending those in recovery a real chance to experience stability and the long-term advantages of gainful employment.”

Dr. Tom Ingram, CEO of Stepworks Recovery Centers, said, “After receiving treatment for addiction, many people struggle to find housing and employment, increasing the risk of relapse. Leader McConnell’s work on the CAREER Act demonstrates an awareness of these challenges and a commitment to easing them.  The CAREER Act assists us at Stepworks Recovery Centers in supporting our clients beyond the first 30 days; it helps us secure them on a path to longer and more successful recovery and reintegration.  Through the crafting of this legislation, and the larger package of opioid legislation passed today, the Leader has been inclusive and committed to addressing the challenges that parallel and accompany our nation’s struggle with opioids and other drugs.”

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