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Klobuchar-sponsored bipartisan legislation to combat prescription drug abuse passes Senate

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D. Minn., Thursday announced that a bipartisan bill to help combat prescription drug abuse passed the Senate. The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which Klobuchar introduced with senators Sheldon White...

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D. Minn., Thursday announced that a bipartisan bill to help combat prescription drug abuse passed the Senate.

The bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which Klobuchar introduced with senators Sheldon Whitehous, D-R.I., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against addiction. It also includes Klobuchar's provision to combat drug abuse by enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs.

"As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the devastating effects drug abuse can have on families in Minnesota and across the country," Klobuchar said, in a news release. "We must spare no effort to reverse this deadly trend. Today's vote brings us one step closer to enacting this critical bipartisan legislation and giving communities the tools they need to combat drug abuse, including my provision on prescription drug monitoring. I hope that the House will act quickly to pass this bill so it can be signed into law."

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would:

• Expand prevention and educational efforts-particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations-to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.

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• 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 our children and adolescents.

• Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program.

• Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

The legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Faces and Voices of Recovery, the National Council for Behavioral Health, and the Major County Sheriffs' Association, among others.

Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. In September 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration implemented Klobuchar's bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on drug abuse, Klobuchar highlighted the need to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act in order to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies to fight against addiction.

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