For the first time in history, more Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that opioidsâ€”a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroinâ€”were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014. And between 2002 and 2013, the number of heroin-related deaths in America nearly quadrupled.
Today, the President announced his proposal to invest $1.5 billion in his FY 2017 budget proposal to combat the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.
The Presidentâ€™s proposal takes a two-pronged approach to address this epidemic.It includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. This funding will boost efforts to help individuals with an opioid use disorder seek treatment, successfully complete treatment, and sustain recovery. Specifically, this new funding willaddress the following:
- $920 million to support cooperative agreements with states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. States will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it.States can use these funds to expand treatment capacity and make services more affordable.
- $50 million in National Health Service Corps funding to expand access to substance use treatment providers.This funding will help support approximately 700 health providers who can administersubstance use disorder treatmentservices, including medication-assisted treatment, in areas across the country most in need of these specialists.
- $30 million to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs employing medication-assisted treatment under real-world conditions and help identify opportunities to improve treatment for patients with opioid use disorders.
The budget proposal also contains approximately $500 millionâ€”an increase of more than $90 millionâ€”to continue and build on current efforts across the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.
This proposal will not only expand access to help people start treatment, but help them successfully complete it and sustain their recovery. It will increase education, prevention, drug monitoring programs, and law enforcement efforts to keep illegal drugs out of our communities.
Simone Leiro is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy.