America’s addiction to opioids and heroin is a long-standing and complex problem. Apart, the number of deaths due to its abuse has forced the nation’s policymakers to focus their attention on expansion of treatments for people hooked on prescription painkillers, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, hydrocodone and morphine, or the cheaper substitute heroin.
The White House declared on February 2, 2016 that U.S. President Barack Obama plans to seek nearly $1 billion in the upcoming 2017 Budget to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic. The budget proposal of the Obama administration will include the amount in compulsory funding over the forthcoming two years to increase treatment for prescription opioids and make service treatments more affordable.
During a chat with the reporters after the announcement, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services informed, “Currently, 2.2 million people need treatment for opioid abuse but only one million are receiving it.” Most of the budgeted amount would be disbursed to states under joint state-federal agreements to accelerate the ongoing treatment capacity.
In a statement to NBCNews.com, the White House said, “The President’s budget includes approximately $500 million — an increase of more than $90 million — to continue and build on current efforts across the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.”
Prior to this, Obama had made his intentions clear during his earlier speeches that combating the opioid overdose epidemic with programs, which are evidence-based prevention and involve monitoring of prescription drugs along with treatments, which are medication-based is a priority for his administration. Robert Jones Portman, Senator, Ohio stressed, “This is the only bipartisan legislation that includes a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to help communities combat this epidemic.”
Showing support to the U.S. government’s proposal, National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli told the Newsweek.com, “We must combat dangerous misuse while at the same time safeguarding the legitimate use of these drugs to help reduce pain.”
Supporting Obama’s proposal, Vern Buchanan Republican Representative, Bradenton, Florida in an e-mail statement to Star-telegram.com said, “This is a problem destroying lives and families across America that needs to be addressed. I strongly support efforts to fight the heroin and drug abuse epidemic in this country and look forward to reviewing the president’s proposal.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics reveal the number of deaths caused due to drug overdoses emphasizes the crisis situation the U.S. is facing and the need for a quick and long-term remedy. CDC revealed that opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths in 2014 alone and that the rate of heroin abuse doubled among women and went up 50 percent among men between 2002 and 2013.
In his report to NBC News, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “What’s most striking and troubling is that we’re seeing heroin diffusing throughout society to groups that it hasn’t touched before.”
There are times when addicted people are made to wait in long queues for treatment with hospitals unable to realize the complication involved due to opioid abuse. But serving such people is our priority. Call the 24/7 Recovery Helpline to learn more about the plague of addiction and find out about treatment options in your area.
Call today to speak to our expert at 855-441-4405 or chat online for further professional advice. The earlier recovery is achieved, the sooner one can have his or her life back.