Public Policy Update – April 2021

April 2021
Policy Update

On the Hill…

CARA 3.0

Senators PortmanWhitehouse, and Klobuchar unveiled their “CARA 3.0” legislation at the end of March, which will be the retiring Portman’s last attempt to bolster his landmark legislation from 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act. The bill addresses several aspects of SUD policy, including prevention, treatment, recovery, and the criminal justice system.

What that means…

The bill calls for an investment in recovery community organizations on a scale unlike anything we have seen in the past. The total is $250 million. $200 million of that would build a national infrastructure for recovery support services to help individuals move successfully from treatment into long-term recovery. The goal is to build connections between recovery support services and networks, including treatment programs, mental health providers, treatment systems, and other recovery supports. Funds may also be used on efforts to reduce stigma associated with substance use; to develop recovery wellness plans that address barriers to recovery, including social determinants of health; and to use telehealth to support recovery in rural and underserved areas. Another $50 million is authorized in grants for peer recovery services to provide continuing care and ongoing community support for individuals to maintain their recovery. These organizations are nonprofits that mobilize resources within and outside the recovery community to increase long-term recovery and that are wholly or principally governed by people in recovery who reflect the community served.

Other programs in the bill include a national youth and young adult recovery initiative, with $10 million authorized annually to provide substance use recovery support services to youth and young adults enrolled in high school or an institution of higher education, and to build communities of support for youth and young adults in substance use recovery; and an Excellence in Recovery Housing program, which requires SAMHSA, along with national accrediting entities and reputable providers of recovery housing services, to develop guidelines for states to promote the availability of high-quality recovery housing.

The “CARA 3.0” legislation faces a very long road through Congress and is likely to be altered significantly before the final product is voted on. Faces and Voices had significant input into the first draft, and will continue to try and improve the bill to provide even greater benefits to the recovery community.

More Info Here

In Action…

Drug Policy Priorities for year one

On April 1, 2021, President Biden and Vice President Harris released their administration’s Drug Policy Priorities for the upcoming year. President Biden has made clear that addressing the overdose and addiction epidemic is an urgent priority for his administration.

Priorities include:

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment
  • Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce
  • Expanding access to recovery support services

What that Means…

The plan cites the need to identify a research agenda to examine existing recovery-ready workplaces. Recovery research has always been a high policy priority for Faces & Voices of Recovery. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will request agencies to support training for clinicians in addiction with special emphasis on community-based services in underserved areas, such as federally qualified health centers, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Indian Health Service. The White House will seek to identify authorized, evidence-based vocational programs that can expand the addiction workforce but that have not yet secured appropriations. Also, they will seek to produce guidelines for federal managers on hiring and working with people in recovery from a substance use disorder.

ONDCP acknowledges that as we seek to expand the continuum of care to address the chronic nature of substance use disorders, recovery support services help people build recovery capital to manage and sustain long-term recovery. Recovery support service- to include peer support services and engagement, recovery housing, recovery community centers, and recovery programs in high schools and colleges- are a necessary investment. Scaling up the capacity and infrastructure of these programs will create strong resource networks to equip communities to support recovery for everyone.

Read Full Statement Here