Barr votes for historic opioid package

Published 11:10 am Friday, October 19, 2018

From staff reports

WASHINGTON — As Kentucky continues to suffer from the third highest opioid overdose mortality rate in the nation, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06) voted last week for the most significant Congressional action against a drug crisis in history.

With overwhelming bipartisan support, H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, will bolster our communities’ efforts to advance prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives for individuals and families struggling with addiction and substance abuse.

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After Senate approval, the final support for Patients and Communities Act will be sent to the president’s desk for signature.

This package includes Barr’s legislation, the CAREER Act, which empowers individuals to rise above addiction by transitioning back into the workforce through stable transitional housing and job training.

“In 2016, more than 1,400 Kentuckians died of an opioid overdose and we owe it to these families to provide the resources needed to combat this heartbreaking crisis that is devastating communities throughout the Commonwealth,” Barr said. “On behalf of all these Kentucky families, I was proud to support this legislation as it marks a critical investment to better protect our communities through new prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives to ultimately fight the trafficking and use of illicit drugs in Kentucky’s Sixth District.”

According to a statement released by Barr’s office, the CAREER Act addresses the decline in workforce participation as a result of the opioid epidemic by encouraging local businesses and treatment centers to form partnerships to secure job training, employment and housing options for individuals in recovery.

Additionally, this legislation gives states more flexibility to direct federal funds to specific and local initiatives.

H.R. 6 was designed to strengthen communities’ treatment, recovery and prevention efforts to better protect communities for the deadly impacts of opioid and substance abuse.

Following the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act last Congress, the 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act included a $4 billion investment earlier this year to combat the opioid epidemic.

More recently, Congress appropriated $6.7 billion to boost programs that fight and treat substance abuse and support mental health services.