White House Announces $1.1 Billion Budget Proposal To Address Growing Opioid Abuse
It is no big secret that illicit drug use continues to plague communities throughout the United States. But while we move towards a better understanding of things like marijuana—which has been decriminalized all over the country—it appears that many more are struggling with opiate addiction.
Of course, this has much to with the increase in opiate-based pain-killer prescriptions over the past decade, but heroin use also appears to be on the rise.
In a recent statement, the White House said, “Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs. More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes.”
In addition, US Department of Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell comments, that “No community has been immune,” noting that her home state, West Virginia, has been hit especially hard.
Vowing to make this issue a top priority, she also adds that the department made a “critical downpayment” with $127 million in funding, an amount which was approved even among the bipartisan Congress. This is only part of the $1.1 billion President Barack Obama has proposed to fight prescription opiod and heroin abuse across the United States.
She explains, “These funds are crucial and are much-needed in states and communities to fight and overcome this epidemic, which is a complicated problem,” adding that the effort is complicated because it involves a delicate balance of moderate restrictions on opioid prescriptions while increasing safeguards over the legitimate use for those who truly need to manage chronic pain.
Of course, this is a terrible trend to notice; and President Obama has taken note too. After all, the Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance providers cover substance abuse disorders as part of their policies.
It is an important effort as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have tracked that opioid abuse resulted in 28,648 deaths in the United States alone, in 2014.
The White House statement continues: “The president has made clear that addressing the opioid overdose epidemic is a priority for his administration and has highlighted tools that are effective in reducing drug use and overdose, like evidence-based prevention programs, prescription drug monitoring, prescription drug take-back events, medication-assisted treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone.”
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