Ohio Officials Look Ahead At Funding New CARA Anti-Opioid Law

Jul 25, 2016

Tracy Plouck (second from left), Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, was in Cleveland last week during the RNC to discuss the nation's opioid crisis.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

President Obama has signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, which aims to curb abuse of heroin and opioid drugs.

The bill was co-sponsored by Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, and it expands access to drug treatment and recovery efforts.

CARA authorizes $181 million in new spending, but the White House had previously expressed disappointment that lawmakers failed to provide what it considered sufficient money to deal with the problem.

Tracy Plouck is Director of Ohio’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  She says she hopes the appropriations process allocates more funds for the new law.

“We have had the opportunity in Ohio -- when we expanded Medicaid -- to actually redirect a lot of the resources that had been paying for clinical services for people who were not Medicaid enrolled to now cover things like prevention, recovery housing and peer support.  So I think we’ve done a nice job of –being judicious with the resources and trying to expand capacity in different ways.”

In a statement, Portman's office called on President Obama to help fund CARA by engaging in the appropriations process, instead of “sitting on the sidelines and leveling cheap shots."