Congress passes Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

The United States Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The Senate vote follows a similar near-unanimous vote in the House of Representatives last week and will send the bill to the President for his signature.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) welcomed passage of the legislation and called on Congress to fulfill its commitment to fund CARA fully this year.

“It’s not a perfect bill, and we still need Congress to act to fund it this year, but it is a major step forward to help promote prevention, expand access to treatment, and enhance crucial recovery support services,” ASAM president, Dr. Jeffrey Goldsmith, said in a statement. “With adequate funding, we believe this bill will help save lives.”

CARA is a sweeping bill that came together over the course of several years with input from hundreds of addiction advocates. Its provisions address the full continuum from primary prevention to recovery support, including significant changes to expand access to addiction treatment services and overdose reversal medications.

Among other things, CARA clears expansion of office-based treatment by allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction.

The FDA in late May approved Titan Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ:TTNP) Probuphine as the first implant for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence in patients who have sustained clinical stability on low-to-moderate doses of buprenorphine, specifically 8 mg or less a day.

Some 1,590 physicians from all 50 states and Puerto Rico have been certified to provide Probuphine to their patients as a rollout continues by Titan’s marketing partner, closely-held Braeburn Pharmaceuticals.