- President Obama will ask Congress for $1.1 billion to fight the worsening prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic.
- Spread out over two years, the funding for fiscal year 2017 would quadruple this year’s $127 million for the problem, Reuters reported.
- In 2014, opioids contributed to 28,648 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Especially hard hit were Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Under the proposal, to be included in Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget request, $920 million would go towards helping states expand access to medication-assisted treatment programs for addicts. Funding levels would depend on the severity of the problem and the strength of the state’s strategy for addressing it.
Another $50 million in National Health Service Corps Funding would support about 700 providers who treat substance use disorders in areas where behavioral health specialists are few. The proposal also includes $30 million to assess the real-world effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment programs and identify ways to improve them, according to a White House fact sheet.
The final $500 million would be used to build on ongoing Justice Department and Health and Human Services efforts such as expanding state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies and improving access to the overdose-antidote drug naloxone.
An undisclosed portion of the $500 million — up from $90 million in FY 2016 — would be targeted to rural communities where opioid use and overdose rates are particularly high.