President Obama Proposes $1.1 Billion to Address Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

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President Obama released his new budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year. Within it, he plans to allocate $1.1 billion to address the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic sweeping the nation.

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in deaths caused by drugs and opioid use. Studies showed that 40,055 individuals died because of a drug overdose. Of that total, 28,648 people used heroin and prescription drugs. Statistic shows that more Americans are now dying because of heroin than because of car crashes.

The number has increased in recent years. Given the serious nature of drug abuse and addiction, the Obama administration made it a priority to address the epidemic. In his new budget proposal for the 2017 fiscal year, President Obama proposes allocating $1.1 billion to combat the national opioid and heroin issue. The budget assigns funds for two-year mandatory aid for drug treatment programs and options.

Obama’s budget focuses on providing drug treatment services to those who seek it. A 2012 study exposed that of the 2.4 million Americans dependent on opioids, only 1 million had access to medication-assisted treatment. The funds expand access to the necessary resources for recovery.

The President’s new budget proposes a two-tiered approach in addressing the epidemic. First, one billion dollars will be given to fund mandatory programs for heroin and prescription abuse.

A breakdown of the budget includes:

  • $30 million to evaluate and comment on the effectiveness of the treatment programs
  • $50 million in National Health Service Corps funding to help an average of 700 providers of disorder treatment centers
  • $920 million for medication-assisted treatment programs to address opioid use disorders

The budget allows for $500 million to go towards the Department of Justice and Health and Human Service’s ongoing efforts to expand access to medication-assisted treatment plans and the opportunity to obtain reverse-overdose medication like naloxone.

The Secretary for Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, states,

Opioid abuse and overdose has hurt families across this nation, rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural; no community has been immune. Today’s budget announcement would mean a significant investment in this fight. We could do more to save lives and turn this epidemic around.

At the Koffel Law Firm, we believe drug use and abuse is an illness, not a criminal offense. Those dependent on opioids and heroin need treatment rather than jail time. We commend the government’s new budget proposal and hope that by treating drug addiction, we can keep the sick out of jail. If you have been charged with a drug offense, contact our Ohio drug crimes attorney today.

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