As Congress continues debating legislation related to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, the White House released the estimated amount of funding each state could qualify for under the new cooperative agreements proposed in President Obama’s budget to expand access to opioid treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment.
Under President Obama’s $1.1 billion proposal to help Americans with opioid use disorders who want treatment get the help they need, states would receive funding based on the severity of the epidemic in their communities and the strength of their strategy to respond to it. The State of Alabama could be eligible for up to $14 million dollars over two years to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders under the proposal.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that opioids were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014. In particular, the CDC found a continued sharp increase in heroin-involved deaths and an emerging increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Statistics show that 46 people die daily from prescription opioid overdoses, and that most first-time users get their drugs from a family member or friend.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, 762 Alabama residents died between 2010 and 2014 due to drug overdose, which included prescription drug overdose. In Alabama in 2014 alone, there were 221 deaths due to drug overdoses.
The final funding amount will depend on Congressional action and the strength of the state’s application and plan to combat the epidemic.