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Obama Administration Seeks $1.1 Billion Funding For Heroin, Opioid Addiction

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U.S. President Barack Obama seeks $1.1 billion in funds to act upon the problem of prescription opioid and heroin addiction.

The administration includes a mandatory funding to make sure that all Americans who want treatment can get help.

"The President's FY 2017 Budget takes a two-pronged approach to address this epidemic," the press release reads.

First Approach: Increase Access To Help

The first strategy is to include $1 billion in new compulsory funding over the next two years to increase availability of treatments for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. Such approach will help those with opioid drug disorder to look for help, complete necessary therapies and ensure recovery.

To be able to reach that goal, the administration proposes to include $920 million for cooperative agreements between states. This move is to expand access to guided treatment among those plagued with opioid use disorders.

The funds for each state will vary depending on the severity of the epidemic and strength of available measures to address it.

The administration is also looking at providing $50 million to the National Health Service Corps to bolster access to treatment providers. Through this fund, about 700 health care providers will be able to implement treatment services to different areas across the U.S.

Lastly, $30 million will be used to evaluate the outcomes of the programs and help determine opportunities to enhance treatment.

Second Approach: Continue Current Efforts

The second strategy is to provide $500 million of the proposed budget to existing projects by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS).

The money may be used to hasten prevention, increase medication-assisted programs, improve access to antidote naloxone and strengthen enforcement strategies.

Part of this budget will go to rural areas, where epidemics are high.

The President's Focus

Obama has made clear that battling opioid addiction is one of the priorities of his administration.

He has made substance abuse disorder services part of insurance coverage plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The law also necessitates making substance abuse benefits similar to that of medical and surgical cases.

America has been facing tremendous problems related to prescription drug abuse and heroin use. As per records, the rates of drug overdose deaths are now higher than motor vehicle accident mortalities.

In 2014, opioids were involved in 28,648 deaths and CDC continues to note a rise in mortalities related to heroin and other synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Photo: Karen Neoh | Flickr

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