$4.6 Billion From Government to be Spent This Year on Opioid Crisis

The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016. But some advocates say the funding included in the spending plan is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis. A White House report last fall put the cost to the country of the overdose epidemic at more than $500 billion a year.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who served on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission last year, said there are clear solutions but that Congress needs to devote more money to them. States also have begun putting money toward the opioid epidemic. The office of Ohio Gov. John Kasich estimates the state is spending $1 billion a year to address the crisis. Last year, New Jersey allocated $200 million to opioid programs, and the budget proposal in Minnesota calls for spending $12 million in the coming fiscal year.

Addiction to opioid painkillers, including prescription drugs such a Vicodin and OxyContin and illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, is causing deep problems across the country. It’s being blamed for shortened life expectancies, growing burdens on foster care systems, and strains on police and fire departments. The budgeted response amounts to about three times as much as the federal government is spending currently to address the epidemic, not counting treatment money that flows through Medicaid and Medicare.

The biggest chunk of new money in the congressional appropriation — $1 billion — is to be distributed to states and American Indian tribes. States with the highest overdose mortality rates would receive larger shares, a provision that’s important to hard-hit states with small populations such as West Virginia and New Hampshire. Every state would receive at least $4 million.

The plan also includes $500 million for opioid-related research and hundreds of millions more to expand availability of treatment. Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of an opioid policy research group at Brandeis University, said he believes it would take a 10-year commitment to funding $6 billion annually to build a system that would make medication-assisted treatment accessible to everyone who needs it.

Reference: http://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2018/03/federal-govt-to-spend-4-6-billion-fighting-opioids-this-year/
  • 2 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • that's a lot of money that SHOULD be able to make some headway. i don't think it is rocket science..free or very affordable treatment should be available to EVERYONE!! .come on government!!!
  • I don't have much faith in the Trump administration. That said, I'd love for them to prove me wrong and start to make a dent in our country's opioid crisis.
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