End The Opioid Crisis
“Today, 191 people will die from a drug overdose. I’m in this fight for everyone who’s been caught in the grips of addiction, or knows someone who is. By holding drug companies accountable and giving communities the money and tools to fight addiction, we can end the opioid crisis.” – Elizabeth Warren
WHAT THIS PLAN IS ABOUT
Fueling addiction is a big business that has made companies billions. And instead of treating the opioid crisis like the health crisis it is, only a small percentage of those suffering are receiving the treatment they so desperately need.
To tackle this issue head-on, Elizabeth Warren rolled out the CARE Act in partnership with the late Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. The CARE Act is a comprehensive plan to end the opioid crisis by providing the resources needed to begin treating this epidemic like a public health crisis.
If the CARE Act becomes law, every single person would get the care they need.
WHY IT’S NEEDED
More than 685,000 Americans have died from a drug overdose in the United States since 2000, and it’s getting worse.
Children have lost their parents. And only a small percentage of those suffering ever receive the treatment they need. The crisis has also severely impacted communities of color, exacerbated by existing health disparities.
And here’s the bitter truth: fueling addiction is big business. Kermit, West Virginia, a tiny town of 400, was inundated with 13 million prescription opioid pills, all delivered to a single local pharmacy by pharmaceutical companies.
The five companies responsible earned $17 billion shipping prescription opioids to West Virginia during this period. Now, Kermit is fighting back with a lawsuit against the pharmacy and five wholesale drug distributors that exacerbated the crisis.
HOW THE PLAN WORKS
Under the CARE Act, states and communities will receive $100 billion in federal funding over the next ten years — because that’s what’s needed to make sure every single person gets the treatment they need. Here’s how that breaks down each year:
- $4 billion for states, territories, and tribal governments;
- $2.7 billion for the hardest hit counties and cities, including $1.4 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses;
- $1.7 billion for public health surveillance, research, and improved training for health professionals;
- $1.1 billion for public and nonprofit entities on the front lines, including those working with underserved populations and workers at high risk for addiction, and to support expanded and innovative service delivery of treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services;
- $500 million to expand access to naloxone and provide this life-saving overdose reversal drug to first responders, public health departments, and the public.
The plan also works to strengthen our addiction treatment infrastructure by
- demanding states use Medicaid to its fullest to tackle the crisis,
- expanding access to medication-assisted treatment, and
- ensuring treatment programs and recovery residences meet high standards.
Last, we’ll hold CEOs personally accountable if their companies cost lives.
Under Elizabeth’s Corporate Executive Accountability Act, executives of major companies that deliberately hurt people through criminal negligence — for example, by dumping mountains of highly addictive pills into towns like Kermit to make a quick buck — don’t just pay a fine, they face real criminal penalties, including jail time.
Together, we can fight the opioid epidemic and make sure this never happens again.