WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten today issued the following statement on the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, legislation introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that would provide $100 billion in federal funding over 10 years to expand access to treatment and recovery support services for substance use and addiction:
“This bill provides a much-needed lifeline to the communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic that is hurting so many families. Funding provided under the CARE Act would deliver targeted resources to cities and towns that have been hollowed out by this addiction, which is quickly becoming a leading cause of death in the U.S.; in 2017, more than 50,000 Americans’ deaths were related to the use of opioids.
“Using the bipartisan, landmark Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act as a template, the legislation is more than just government rhetoric. It uses evidence-based treatment programs and builds on them to increase the care capacity and expand opportunities so more people get help in dealing with opioid addiction.
“AFT members have seen firsthand the devastating effects of opioid addiction, and the influence it has on schools, economies and families. Our work in McDowell County, W.Va.; Massena, N.Y.; the Mahoning Valley in Ohio; and other communities affected by this crisis has brought to light just how important it is to invest in education, treatment, support and care as we work to mitigate the damage of opioids in our communities.
“As a union of educators and school staff, nurses, healthcare workers and public employees, we can honor these professionals and further support their work in this week—which is dedicated to recognizing nurses, teachers and public employees—by ensuring this critical legislation is funded.”