CARA Bill Authorizes Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Court Expansion!

July 14, 2016 -- The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) applauds the passage of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), landmark legislation that:

  1. Authorizes for the first time in our history veterans treatment court funding at the Department of Justice.
  2. Authorizes for the first time in more than a decade continued drug court funding at the Department of Justice.
  3. Authorizes significant advances in the funding of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorders.

NADCP was honored to work with our congressional champions and national partners on this historic legislation for the field. Over the past year, Congress evaluated what could be done to advance treatment and recovery for individuals suffering from addiction. When their focus turned toward the criminal justice system, they looked to drug courts and veterans treatment courts. By passing CARA, Congress chose to formally authorize both programs for five years at the Department of Justice.
The passage of this bill is a powerful reminder that these programs are a vital component of the nation’s strategy to promote treatment and recovery while addressing the devastation caused by an opioid epidemic sweeping the nation. CARA’s passage is also a testament to the incredible work of each and every one of you working in treatment court!

CARA will also significantly strengthen drug courts and veterans treatment courts by expanding access to the overdose reversal drug, naloxone. It will also provide new funding to expand access to evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment supporting local communities, schools, and higher education recovery services. CARA will improve opioid safety measures at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and expand research and education on complementary and integrative health to veterans.

“The passage of CARA signifies a renewed national commitment to the millions affected by the disease of addiction,” said Carson Fox, Chief Executive Officer of NADCP. “Every person deserves access to evidence-based treatment. For those whose substance use disorder leads to involvement in the justice system, drug courts and veterans treatment courts offer hope of recovery and a new life free of addiction. CARA will expand access to treatment services to help us reach the one million justice-involved Americans suffering from addiction.”

“As a former prosecutor, I have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by opioid abuse in communities across the country.” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) “With this legislation, families and communities will have more resources to save lives and begin to reverse this deadly trend.”

"Drug courts have been proven to be highly successful," added House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA).