April 18, 2018

Warren, Cummings Introduce Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Bold New Proposal Modeled Directly on Proven Ryan White Program for HIV/AIDS; Massachusetts Would Receive More than $100 Million a Year to Defeat Crisis

State-by-State Funding | Bill Text | One-Pager

Video (YouTube)

Washington, DC - Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act to  provide the resources needed to begin treating the opioid crisis like the critical public health emergency it is.  The CARE Act will provide states and communities with $100 billion in federal funding over ten years, including more than $800 million a year directly to tribal governments and organizations. The Commonwealth would get around $55 million per year in state formula grants and the hardest-hit communities in Massachusetts would receive an estimated $64.5 million in annual funding.

The CARE Act is modeled directly on the bipartisan Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act, which was enacted nearly 30 years ago to support federal investments and local decision-making to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During the 1980s and 1990s, deaths from HIV/AIDS grew rapidly, and the country's medical system was ill-equipped to provide effective, evidence-based care. In 1990, Congress passed the Ryan White bill to provide significant new funding to help state and local governments combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

"We can't defeat the opioid crisis with empty words and half measures," said Senator Warren. "Our bill will funnel millions of dollars directly to the hardest-hit communities and give them the tools to fight back. Congress has acted before to root out an epidemic when it finally took action against HIV/AIDS - and Americans across the country are counting on us to do the same today."

"The opioid epidemic does not discriminate based on politics. It is devastating communities in red states, blue states, and purple states, and it is terrorizing families that are wealthy, poor, and everywhere in between.  We need to learn from the past to develop a strong approach for the future.  It is time for Congress to come together, put politics aside, and get to the heart of the problem-providing adequate and stable funding for states and local communities. Our bill does exactly that," said Ranking Member Cummings.

 Today, Ranking Member Cummings and Senator Warren also released a staff report with state-by-state fact sheets estimating the amount of federal funding available under the CARE Act to each state.

The CARE Act provides $100 billion in federal funding over ten years, including:

  • $4 billion per year to states, territories, and tribal governments, including $2 billion to states with the highest levels of overdoses, $1.6 billion through competitive grants, and $400 million for grants to tribal governments;
  • $2.7 billion per year to the hardest hit counties and cities, including $1.43 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses, $1 billion through competitive grants, and $270 million for grants to tribal governments;
  • $1.8 billion per year for public health surveillance, biomedical research, and improved training for health professionals, including $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and regional tribal epidemiology centers, and $400 million to train and provide technical assistance to professionals treating substance use disorders;
  • $1 billion per year to support expanded and innovative service delivery, including $500 million for public and nonprofit entities and $500 million for projects of national significance that provide treatment, prevention, recovery, and harm reduction services; and
  • $500 million per year to expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone and provide this life-saving medicine to states to distribute to first responders, public health departments, and the public.

The legislation has been endorsed by the following organizations:  AIDS United; amfAR; Association for Behavioral HealthcareBaltimore County Health DepartmentCommunity Anti-Drug Coalitions of America; Drug Policy Alliance; Harm Reduction CoalitionMassachusetts Medical Society; National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors; National Association of CountiesNational Association of County and City Health OfficialsNational Council for Behavioral HealthNational HIDTA Directors AssociationNational Indian Health Board; United South and Eastern Tribes Sovereignty Protection Fund; Seattle Indian Health Board; and Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Former Rep. Henry Waxman, one of the authors of the Ryan White Act; Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner; and the American Society of Addiction Medicine also released statements of support for the bill. 

Click here to read the bill.

Click here to read a one-pager on the bill. 

Click here to read a one-pager on the bill's resources for tribal communities.

Click here to read a section-by-section.

Click here to read the staff report with state-by-state fact sheets. 

Click here to read statements of support from experts and policymakers. 

Click here to read the Warren and Cummings op-ed in USA Today.