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July 09, 2021

McKinley, Trone lead bipartisan addiction legislation

Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Lindsay Renner-Wood

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and David Trone (D-Md.) announced Thursday their introduction of a “comprehensive addiction treatment, prevention and recovery bill.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 3.0, or CARA 3.0., builds on the CARA Act of 2016, as well as similar legislation from 2018, the lawmakers said in a joint statement. It aims to increase funding for addiction prevention, education, research, treatment and recovery.

McKinley serves West Virginia’s 1st District, which includes Mineral County, and Trone represents Maryland’s 6th District, which includes Allegany and Garrett counties.

The bill was introduced in the Senate in March, where sponsors include Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed the pandemic intensify the substance use disorder epidemic in West Virginia,” said McKinley. “Our bipartisan bill builds off the critical work in CARA and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. This legislation can provide the much-needed resources in prevention and recovery programs to help combat the substance use disorder across the country. … We must stop ignoring this epidemic.”

McKinley and Trone both represent areas of the country sorely affected by the ongoing drug addiction crisis.

Between 2015 and 2019, according to NORC’s Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool, Mineral County experienced a drug overdose death rate of 61 per 100,000 population. Forty-seven people died in that time. The West Virginia statewide average was 75.9 per 100,000 for the same time frame.

In the same time frame, per the NORC mapper, Allegany County saw 138 total drug overdose deaths and Garrett County 23, rates of 61 and 36.7 per 100,000, respectively, compared to the Maryland-wide average of 43.4.

Between 2019 and 2020, per the 2020 Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center report released in April, Allegany County’s opioid-related intoxication death rate jumped by nearly 110%. Opioid overdose deaths increased in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties by 45.9% in that same time frame, the largest regional percentage increase in the state.

“It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic exacerbated substance use disorders and revealed the true extent of our nation’s public health crisis,” Trone said. “We need a multi-pronged approach where health care professionals are equipped to give compassionate and effective treatment and those with substance use disorder are given the resources they need for recovery: housing, accessible health care, job opportunities and most of all a second chance. That is why I am calling on my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to come together and pass CARA 3.0 so that real help can be delivered to those individuals and communities impacted by addiction.”