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Obama Proposes $1.1B for Prescription Opioid Abuse Treatment

Did you know that more Americans die each year from opioid drug overdoses than car crashes? That, according to White House officials, is just one reason why President Obama is seeking an additional $1.1 billion in funding in the 2017 FY budget to pay for drug treatment for people addicted to opioid medications and heroin.

According to an article in USA Today, the funding includes cooperative agreements with states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders, expansion to about 700 substance use treatment providers sponsored by the National Health Service Corps, money to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment programs, and additional funding to build on efforts of the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services to expand state prescription overdose prevention strategies that include increasing availability of treatment programs and enforcement activities.

There are 2.2 million Americans who need treatment for opioid abuse, but only about 1 million people are receiving help, Burwell said. The funding, spread over two years, would quadruple the current HHS budget of $127 million allocated to the problem this year, which is up from only $34 million in fiscal 2015.

According to the White House, “states will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it.” And the $50 million directed to the NHSC would enable roughly 700 providers to offer substance use disorder treatment services in areas with poor access to behavioral health providers.

Last month, the Medical Association formed Smart & Safe, a prescription drug abuse campaign, to help combat Alabama’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. The Association and 20 partners from health care, business, health insurance and law enforcement joined forces to promote the safe prescription, use and disposal of opioid medications. For more information about Smart & Safe, please contact Lori M. Quiller, APR.

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