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Maryland AG Frosh Pushes For Addiction Recovery Legislation

September 29th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined attorneys general in 36 other states and the District of Columbia to urge Congress to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015.

The legislation would provide states with critical tools to more effectively confront the growing challenge of heroin and opioid-based painkiller abuse and addiction and its devastating effect on public health and safety.

“Those who need treatment for addiction should not be denied access,” said Attorney General Frosh. “This bipartisan, common-sense legislation bolsters education and prevention efforts, expands the availability of a critical heroin-overdose drug used by law enforcement and provides more resources to treat addicts.”

In the letter sent today to the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Judiciary Committees, the attorneys general stressed the need to put more resources toward treatment and not rely as heavily on questionable criminal justice tactics.

“Law enforcement has always been on the frontline when it comes to drug crises, but we cannot arrest ourselves out of this current epidemic,” the letter states. “Research shows the best way to address this challenge is through a strategy that includes prevention, law enforcement, reduction of overdose deaths, evidence-based treatment, and support for those in, or seeking, recovery.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 would:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts – particularly for 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 children and adolescents;
  • Launch and evidence-based opioids and heroin treatment and intervention program to assist in treatment and recovery throughout the country; and
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses have eclipsed automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 25 and 64. More than 100 Americans die as a result of overdose in this country every day – more than half of them caused by prescription drugs or heroin.

A copy of the letter sent to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees can be found at http://www.oag.state.md.us/Press/CARA_2015.pdf.

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