U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan on Monday urged the House Judiciary Committee chairman to bring similar legislation to the floor for House consideration, according to a news release from Buchanan's office.
Buchanan, a co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), said the legislation was needed to address a growing crisis of heroin and opioid abuse, which has hit hard in Manatee and other parts of Florida. Last week, he hosted a roundtable discussion about heroin, attended by law enforcement, health and other officials from Manatee and Sarasota counties.
In a letter to Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R- Buchanan called for the Committee to send CARA (H.R. 953) to the floor for passage, writing he was convinced the House would approve the measure given the severity of the heroin and opioid crisis taking place throughout America.
Buchanan descriped Manatee County as "the epicenter of the heroin crisis in Florida." Manatee County had more heroin overdose deaths per capita than any other Florida county in 2014.
“Congress should recognize the severity of this problem and devote meaningful resources to address it,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said he will meet with House leaders this week to urge swift consideration of the legislation. The Senate last week approved its version of the bill.
“We can’t turn a blind eye to this emergency, which has impacted far too many people and overwhelmed our communities,” Buchanan said. “Friends, families, and neighbors are pleading for Congress to step in.”
Key components of CARA include:
• Funding for state, local, and non-profit drug education efforts for teens and seniors.
• Providing grants for treatment and prevention to states, nonprofits, and municipalities.
• Creating new veterans-specific drug treatment courts.
Buchanan is also a cosponsor of the STOP Abuse Act (H.R. 3719), which includes anti-heroin grants and would bolster anti-drug trafficking efforts.