Sen. Rob Portman Discusses CARA in Weekly Republican Address

TWITTER_CARASenator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) discussed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act  in the Saturday Weekly Republican Address.

Just over a week after the legislation was signed into law, Sen. Portman laid out the importance of this legislation that is designed to fight a nationwide opioid and prescription drug epidemic.

Portman, the lead sponsor of CARA, stated:

“Here’s the good news: earlier this month Congress passed a law that will actually make a difference. It is not a Republican or Democratic approach: we wrote it over three years based on real-world evidence of what works and what doesn’t work.”

Following are excerpts of his address:

“I’m Senator Rob Portman. I’m here … to talk to you about an epidemic in my state: the growing problem of addiction to heroin and prescription drugs. But it’s not just in Ohio. Sadly, it’s everywhere.

“With an average of more than 120 Americans dying every single day from overdoses, it’s now the number one cause of accidental death in the country, surpassing car accidents. And it’s getting worse. It’s only July, and already, in some Ohio cities, we’ve had more people die from overdoses than in all of 2015.

“And as tragic as that is, it’s only part of the problem. In addition to those we’ve lost to overdoses, there are millions more across the country who are suffering—who have lost a job, broken relationships with their family and friends, or turned to crime to pay for their drugs. In Ohio alone, some 200,000 people are struggling with addiction. The numbers are overwhelming. And behind the numbers are shattered dreams.

Official-Senator-Portman-Headshot

“I have heard too many of these heartbreaking stories from grieving moms and dads everywhere. This epidemic is at crisis levels and it knows no ZIP code or walk of life. It’s everywhere. Fighting it is going to require all of us to work together.

“Here’s the good news: earlier this month Congress passed a law that will actually make a difference. It is not a Republican or Democratic approach: we wrote it over three years based on real-world evidence of what works and what doesn’t work. We took ideas from people in recovery from addiction, from treatment counselors, prevention experts, law enforcement, doctors and nurses, and – yes – from family members who testified before Congress about our bill.

“It’s called CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and it makes the federal government a better partner with states and local communities and non-profits in the fight against this epidemic. It starts by recognizing that addiction is a disease—and must be treated that way. By helping end the stigma that has surrounded addiction for too long, we can encourage more people to come forward and get the treatment that they need.

“CARA will increase our investment in federal opioid programs by $181 million a year. In total, we’re on track to more than double what we invested just a couple of years ago. Just as important, CARA will make those investments more effective by targeting them toward the programs that work.

“CARA improves prevention by expanding educational efforts, including a new national awareness campaign about the link between prescription painkillers and heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs. It expands treatment, including giving prescribing authority to nurse practitioners and physician assistants for medication-assisted treatment. It expands drug courts. It increases the availability and training for a miracle drug called naloxone, or Narcan, that can actually reverse a drug overdose instantly. And CARA is the first federal law to support long-term recovery.

“More than 250 groups from around the country in the public health, law enforcement, criminal justice, and drug policy fields have endorsed CARA, and it passed both Houses of Congress with strong bipartisan votes.

“It’s an example of how, by working together to find common ground, we can address the big issues that face our country.

“But our work here is not over. Through CARA, Congress has decided to spend significantly more taxpayer dollars to address the epidemic and changed how the money is spent so it is more effective. Now we need to fight for this every year in the annual spending bills. I welcome the White House’s engagement and support in that effort.

“Ultimately, the addiction epidemic will be solve by our families and in our communities. But CARA makes the federal government a far better partner in that effort.

“With CARA now law, I believe that we can begin to turn the tide on this epidemic, save lives, and help restore hope for millions of our fellow citizens. Thanks for the part you’ll play in that.”

AFP’s Bryson: Support Economic Freedom

Donald Bryson is President of the NC Chapter of Americans for Prosperity
Donald Bryson is President of the NC Chapter of Americans for Prosperity

We must get out there and push our message, seemed to be the overall message at the Friday morning session.   That goes along with the official theme of this Conservative Leadership Conference, “Unleashing Freedom”.

Donald Bryson, NC Director of the Americans for Prosperity (AFP), said his group is the largest grassroots organization in the nation.  In North Carolina, they have over 192,0oo activists, he said and they know how to push the message.

Bryson said AFP doesn’t “do drugs or guns” but they support economic freedom.  One such issue is Educational Freedom, and this was repeated by many speakers throughout the day.

Bryson told his audience,

in 2013 we brought in a new Governor, a new Lt. Governor, and continued with our conservative state legislature.  Thanks to them and to the AFP activists, we now have the state’s first voucher program.   That means more educational freedom for children and more choices for parents.”

Bryson did not mince words when he said that they his group will “hit an elected official over the head”, proverbially speaking, when they make a poor decision.

He added that the “middle way is no way.”

Those who waffle about in the middle, Republicans included, are not popular with AFP  The non-partisan group is thrilled educational partnership that teaches the issues so people can speak to their elected officials.

By appearing at town halls, and writing letters, grassroots can stop bad legislation or encourage their elected  officials to support AFP causes.

He closed by urging the audience to work to stop the “Certificate of Need” in North Carolina.

Raleigh, for example,  has used it as a way around voting for an unpopular bond issue to build or purchase something the citizens do not want.  That way they can use a law that was meant to purchase emergency equipment, like fire engines, to get their liberal agenda accomplished..

This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse: Most young Republicans Support Legalizing Pot

Pot
Pot

Popular culture tends to drill into the minds of the young that marijuana is virtually harmless.  Thus, I wasn’t surprised to see that the Pew Research Center has reported that 63% of  millennial Republicans support the legalization of the drug.

The Hill reported in Tuesday’s edition that Millenials, people born after 1981, are driving the trend, and support the use of Pot in much higher use than their elders.

Personally, I think public school has a lot to do with it, too, but that’s another blog post.

The Pew study also found that millenial Republicans do not support Pot’s legalization in as high numbers as do their Democratic and Libertarian peers.  Additionally, many libertarian Republicans are big supporters of de-crimilizing this and other illicit drugs.

There is a reason why these drugs are illegal.  People who believe regular use is harmless, have been smoking, well, too much pot.

Doctors say that “smoking pot can increase your heart rate by as much as two times for up to 3 hours. That’s why some people have a heart attack right after they use marijuana. It can increase bleeding, lower blood pressure, and affect your blood sugar, too.

Web MD reports

Other physical effects of marijuana include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Red eyes and dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles.)

If you’re a long-time user, you can have physical withdrawal symptoms — like cravings, irritability, sleeplessness, and less appetite — when you stop.”

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