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CARA – Stop Tolerating The Addiction Crisis – We Can do More

If you care deeply about addiction, recovery, and helping curtail the tragic overdose deaths of 140 Americans a day, then today is a very important day for you because today is “National Call in Day” in support of CARA.

So what exactly is the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and how will it help?

white house seal In a White House press release from February 13, 2015, they propose that CARA is much larger than its individual pieces. They believe that this bill is the “realization of a movement”. The bill will:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program. While we have medications that can help treat addiction, there is a critical need to get the training and resources necessary to expand treatment best practices throughout the country.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
  • The legislation is supported by the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the Major County Sheriffs' Association, among others. Read more…

How You Can Voice Your Approval of this Powerful Legislation


The answer to that is very simple. You simply need to contact your State senator and inform them of your knowledge and support of the bill. You also want to mention that you are requesting that your senator vote in favor of this important legislation.

Drugfree.org, a website dedicated to reducing substance abuse among adolescents, has created the following scripts that you can use when contacting your senator. Send or relay this message via form fill or phone call.

Script 1:

CARA provides important tools to law enforcement in the fight against heroin and opiate addiction. It would provide opportunities for programs other than incarceration for individuals convicted of drug use, provide training for and increase availability of naloxone, a life-saving overdose combating drug, and would expand the federal drug take-back program. These are crucial steps to controlling this epidemic and would benefit every state in the nation, including [STATE]. Please have Senator/Representative XXXX vote for this important legislation.”

Script 2:

CARA provides important tools for treatment and recovery in the fight against heroin and opiate addiction. It would provide funds for an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention demonstration, authorize the creation of a national youth recovery initiative, and provide funds to non-profits in order to create communities of recovery. These are crucial steps to controlling this epidemic and would benefit every state in the nation, including [STATE]. Please have Senator/Representative XXXX vote for this important legislation. For more CARA related information, visit drugfree.org.

Contacting Your State Senator

usa senate badgeThe easiest fastest way to contact your senator is to email or call them. We have included the following resource so that you may quickly find and contact your State Senator. For our readers located near us, we have included Georgia and Tennessee contact information:

Isakson, Johnny – (R – GA) Class III
131 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3643
Contact: www.isakson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me

Perdue, David – (R – GA) Class II
383 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3521
Contact: www.perdue.senate.gov/connect/email

Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN) Class II
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4944
Form Contact: www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Email

Corker, Bob – (R – TN) Class I
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3344
Contact: www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme

Need to find the State Senators from another state? Please use the following link to access the rest of the Senators.


In Summary

CARA is a great indicator of the changing climate regarding the perception of addiction, treatment, and post drug-related incarceration opportunities. It stands as proof that the war against drugs (as previously defined) has failed, and that the real war is against addiction. A war against addiction however, is full of hope rather then condemnation. Love rather then disdain.

Agree to disagree? Leave a comment and voice your opinion.

Related articles:

Why Is The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act So Important?

Ask Your Senator or Representative to Support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015

Are We Fighting the “War on Drugs” with the Wrong Ammunition?

Should Addicts be Sent to Jail or Rehab?

Drug addiction is no longer a “inner city” issue. Addicts are now at your back door. They live in nice homes and hold reputable jobs. Anyone can succumb to the disease of addiction. Addiction does not discriminate. Just imagine that addict is your mother or your son. Would you want them to be treated like a criminal when they are suffering from a disease? Leonard Campanello, the police chief of Gloucester, Mass. may have a different idea. 

Leonard Campanello, the police chief of Gloucester, Mass., took the microphone here in mid-December and opened with his usual warm-up line: I’m from Gloucester, he said in his heavy Boston accent. “That’s spelled ‘G-l-o-s-t-a-h.’”

A casually profane man with a philosophical bent, Chief Campanello, 48, first drew national attention last spring when he wrote on Facebook that the old war on drugs was lost and over. Convinced that addiction is a disease, not a crime or moral failing, he became the unusual law enforcement officer offering heroin users an alternative to prison.

“Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc.) or drugs and asks for help will NOT be charged,” he wrote. “Instead we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery” and send them for treatment “on the spot.”

Continue reading more here…

So Just How Effective has Chief Campanello's Methods Been

As of August 14, 109 addicts had turned themselves in seeking help. About 70% are men, and about 16% are from Massachusetts. The police department has shelled out about $5,000 to place all of the individuals in drug treatment. Read more…

It's only logical that once the clear line has been drawn establishing addiction to be a disease, then the obvious next step is treatment. Usually however, people who have no money for care only get help once they're in legal trouble. The subconscious parallel becomes that treatment is a consequence.

We applaud Chief Campanello for doing the right thing, and allowing people to get addiction care with out having to first be arrested. Addicts are people in the grips of the disease called addiction, and his approach is a great example of the types of changes that need to occur to continue evolving in the war against addiction.

Big Think, a Youtube Channel that addresses tough issues such as this, posted the following video which will help you understand the historical reasons for prison, verses the actual application and resulting social economic impact.

Read More: Related Addiction Article