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As Congress Heads to Conference on Opioid Epidemic, Murray Calls for Comprehensive Response, Emergency Funding for Communities in Need

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement on the appointment of Senate conferees to bicameral negotiations on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation to strengthen addiction support services in response to the opioid epidemic.


“For far too long, the opioid epidemic has had heartbreaking impacts on families in my home state of Washington and across the country, and it is well past time for Congress to step up to this challenge. I’m pleased that Republicans and Democrats agree this is a crisis we cannot continue to ignore, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to build on that agreement by providing a comprehensive response and critically, funding for the many communities in need—because it is clear that efforts to prevent and treat the opioid epidemic will fall short without additional investments.


“I’m proud that in addition to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, members of the HELP committee have been able to work across the aisle on policies to address opioid addiction through our health care system, and I look forward to working in conference to incorporate these important reforms. As Washington state families have told me, opioid addiction can happen to any family, any neighbor, any loved one—and we all need to work together to put every appropriate resource into this fight.


“While I am pleased that Congress is taking another step toward addressing the crisis of opioid addiction, I am disappointed that on this issue—and on other pressing emergencies—this Republican-controlled Congress has dragged its feet rather than responding with urgency and with clearly-needed resources. From the opioid epidemic, to the crisis in Flint, Michigan, to the Zika virus, and much more, this Congress has a long to-do list—and it’s critical that in the coming weeks we work quickly to deliver.”


Senator Murray spoke in support of CARA on the Senate floor in March 2016, and worked with her colleagues in the HELP Committee on additional legislation to improve prevention and treatment of opioid abuse through the health care system. This legislative package passed the HELP Committee unanimously.