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NASW Applauds Senate for passing Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) congratulates the Senate this week for passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) with sweeping bipartisan support.  This is an important and meaningful step in the nation’s efforts to address its prescription opioid and heroin public health crisis.

The House of Representatives passed CARA with an overwhelming 407-5 vote.  The Senate followed suit with a near unanimous vote of 92-2.  This bill will fund grants for treatment expansion for opioid use disorder through recovery networks, strengthen state-based prescription drug monitoring programs, and increase the availability of opioid overdose reversal drugs.

There are provisions to provide services for pregnant and postpartum women and monitor access to treatment for veterans. The legislation also requires a task force to identify best practices for pain management and encourages new research on this topic.

While NASW is pleased that Congress passed CARA and President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law, the association and social workers must continue to ensure that funding is sustained for the activities outlined in CARA.  As The White House noted in its response to CARA’s passage, 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdose and states are in need of dedicated funding sources to provide adequate access to treatment and support services.

The NASW national office staff is working with a number of groups to monitor Congressional activities on this issue and advocate for appropriations. NASW is a member of the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose, and our staff attends relevant meetings with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  NASW will continue to be an active partner in facilitating approaches to mitigate the devastating impact of this epidemic.

Thank you to Congress for supporting CARA and we look forward to the president’s signature on the bill.


  1. Thank you for this article. Last December, I lost my brother to opiod overdose due to polypharmacy and alcohol addiction over many years. His denial of addiction was “my doctor prescribed this medication” (actually many doctors and many medications).

    It is hoped that Clinical Social Workers will lead research in the best ways to treat this horrible addiction and identify ways to prevention as well.

    • Beth:

      The National Association of Social Workers offers you our sympathies on the loss of your brother.

      We would also like to thank you for pointing out how important research can be in informing on the best ways to treat addiction.

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

  2. Thank you to everyone who is for this program!! And thank you for this report!! As a medical social worker, I have worked with Walla Walla, Washington, Community Hospice for the last 17 years, bringing resources to patients in the last months of their life and supporting their grieving families. And I have learned that the most intense grief is having an addicted family member, watching them, and the rest of the family, be destroyed. Two generations before me, and two of my adult children were addicted. My father and grandfather had no options but to struggle on their own. My two daughters went through serious recovery: one at a hospital-based program in California and the other at a community-based program in a basement in Walla Walla. Both of them have been clean for several years but I know well the long, painful journey and whenever I can, I pass on what I have learned to other families who suffer. Not everyone goes into recovery and even those who do, the family suffers intensely. Are families of addicts addressed in CARA? Are there funds to address that population? I am developing a community-based program and wonder if there are funds available. Who is, or will be, administering the program in the State of Washington?

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