Opioid use and abuse have long been a problem in the united states. However, the problem has become a major crisis that has called for additional funding. Published earlier today by SFGate, “The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016”. Regardless of the increased budget, it may not be enough. SFGate goes on to mention the fact that, “By comparison, the Kaiser Family Foundation found the U.S. is spending more than $7 billion annually on discretionary domestic funding on AIDS, an epidemic with a death toll that peaked in 1995 at 43,000”. The Aids epidemic is receiving more twice as much funding as the opioid epidemic with the peak occurring in 1995. The persistent and current problem with opioid abuse in the US may contribute even further to the spread of infectious disease through needle sharing. The crisis at hand requires more funding, and at the hands of a government, funding agent should far exceed the amount spent by a private foundation such as Kaiser. The need for additional funding and better resources is necessary to put a stop to the crisis, save money, and thousands of lives annually.
How Will the Budget be Allocated?
The $3.3 billion new bill will be distributed among substance abuse, mental health services, new research, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, health resources for people in rural areas, children and families of addicts, Veteran Affairs, and the Food and Drug Administration. According to Vox, the additional funding will be distributed in the following way:
- $1.4 billion will go to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including $1 billion for a new State Opioid Response Grant program and a $160 million increase in the Mental Health Block Grant
- $500 million for the National Institutes of Health for more opioid addiction research
- $350 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for opioid overdose prevention, surveillance, and improving state prescription drug monitoring programs
- $415 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration to, among other efforts, improve access to addiction treatment in rural and other underserved areas
- $100 million to the Administration for Children and Families to help children whose parents misuse drugs
- An additional $299.5 million to the Department of Justice’s anti-opioid grant funding
- An additional $500 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for mental health programs
- An additional $94 million to Food and Drug Administration efforts to inspect mail for illicit drugs
Is the Opioid Epidemic a Law Enforcement Issue?
Many supporters of addiction as illness, are against the trump administrations belief that the opioid epidemic is a law enforcement issue. According to a news article published on Click on Detroit they state that “For decades, this country has poured billions into enforcement and billions into the war on drugs at the expense of our treatment infrastructure.” They go on to state that, “”President Trump and his administration, in many ways, are pushing a more punitive approach. And there has been a lot of rhetoric about making this a law enforcement issue. It is of utmost importance the opioid epidemic be seen from a treatment infrastructure, and not of a law enforcement issue. By arresting more drug addicted user, we are adding to the already expensive institutional system that we have in the United States, and providing inmates with little resources to get better. They are released into society with a criminal record, where it will be hard for them to find good employment opportunities. Recidivism is sure to rise. On the other hand, if finding is allocated as it is supposed to be there is a higher probability for success, and to put a halt to the opioid epidemic.
The budget may still not be enough to eliminate the opioid epidemic at hand. Click on Detroit goes on to state that, “In 2017, when $45 billion over 10 years was proposed in a Senate budget for states to spend on opioid addiction treatment, many senators said the money wasn’t nearly enough. If a $45 billion budget spread over 10 years was not enough, the $3.3 billion will definitely be a challenge for putting an end to the epidemic. With the questionability of the opioid epidemic becoming law enforcement issues, and the limited funding on a little portion of the problem may be eliminated. However, any efforts that can be made will be better than none.
Get Help Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction it is imperative to get the help that you need today. There are a variety of treatment options available. At Coast to Coast Recovery, you can find a range of addiction treatment services from holistic healing and complementary therapies to 12-step programs and Christian-based teaching. Let us help you end a life of addiction and start your journey to lasting sobriety. To learn more, call (800) 210-8229.