House Amendment to S. 524, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

H.Amdt. S. 524

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

May 13, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Friday, May 13, 2016, the House will likely consider the House amendment to S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, under a rule. S. 524 was introduced on February 12, 2015 by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and passed the Senate, with an amendment, on March 10, 2016, by a vote of 94 to1. The House amendment to S. 524 will likely combine the text of all the opioid related bills that pass the House during the week of May 8th.

Bill Summary

S. 524, as amended, would establish programs and grants in the Department of Health and Human Services and in the Department of Justice to improve the treatment of individuals with substance abuse disorders. Major provisions of S. 524 include:

  • The establishment of a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to develop best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and developing a strategy for disseminating best practices;
  • Authorizing grants that are available to: expand educational efforts to prevent opioid and other controlled substances abuse, implement comprehensive community-wide strategies that address local drug crises, offer treatment programs as an alternative to incarceration, create a law enforcement program to prevent opioid and heroin overdose death, dispose of unwanted prescription medications, implement medication assisted treatment programs, address the use of opioid and heroin among pregnant and parenting women, establish or expand veterans treatment court programs, and prepare and implement integrated opioid abuse response initiatives;
  • Authorizing the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to award grants to state and local government and nonprofit organizations that have a high rate of, or rapid increase in, the use of heroin and other opioids;
  • Authorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy to award grants to enable high schools, colleges, and nonprofits with substance abuse programs to provide recovery support services to students and young people;
  • Directing HHS to establish a bipartisan Task Force on Recovery and Collateral Consequences;
  • Directing the Attorney General to report annually on how grants are awarded and used for family-based substance abuse treatment programs; and
  • Requiring GAO to report on the impact that the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion has on access to treatment for individuals with a substance abuse disorder.

Major House changes to S. 524:

The House will consider numerous bills addressing the opioid abuse epidemic in this country during the week of May 8th. The House amendment will likely combine all these measures that pass the House and replace the text of S. 524. Click here for the weekly legislative digest for the week of May 8th, for more details about these measures.


The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, with more than 28,000 deaths involving some type of opioid, including heroin. Natural and semisynthetic opioids, which include the most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers (oxycodone and hydrocodone), continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid derived drug.[1]

[1] See CDC: Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths – United States, 2000-2014


A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available for the House Amendment for S. 524.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.