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Congressman Andy Barr

Representing All the People of Kentucky's Sixth District

Rep. Barr Fights Opioid Epidemic by Empowering Kentuckians

May 9, 2018
Press Release

Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) today introduced two bills – the Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments (THRIVE) Act and the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery through Effective Employment and Reentry (CAREER) Act – both of which go beyond current treatment and prevention policies to empower individuals to rise above poverty and addiction.

“It is critical that Congress do more to combat the opioid epidemic, especially in my home state of Kentucky where we have the third highest opioid overdose mortality rate in the nation,” said Congressman Andy Barr. “As a member of the House Financial Services Committee with jurisdiction over federal housing policy, I understand we must support policies that expand transitional housing options and workforce development initiatives for individuals in the recovery process.”

“Transitional housing is a proven, evidence-based approach that has helped thousands of Americans maintain sobriety after completing rehab, gain valuable skills and job training, obtain employment, and eventually transition back into society to lead independent lives. I’m proud to introduce these two crucial pieces of legislation that will empower individuals overcoming addiction.”

The THRIVE Act would expand housing options for individuals who are transitioning out of addiction treatment and require continued support. This legislation, inspired by successful recovery organizations in the Sixth District and informed by hearings in the House Financial Services Committee and discussions with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, creates a pilot program to allocate Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to transitional housing non-profits with evidence-based models of recovery and life-skills training.

The CAREER Act would address the decline in workforce participation as a result of the opioid epidemic by encouraging local businesses and treatment centers to form partnerships to secure job training, employment, and housing options for individuals in recovery. This legislation would also give states more flexibility to direct federal funds to specific and local initiatives.

Recently, Congressman Barr supported a $4 billion federal investment – the largest to date – to address the opioid epidemic in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. This legislation included an amendment offered by Congressman Barr to increase funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas by $26 million.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) introduced a companion CAREER Act in the Senate on April 24, 2018.

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