Aug 31, 2023 - Health

White House sending nearly half-billion dollars to tackle overdose crisis

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration on Thursday announced it's providing an additional $450 million toward expanding overdose prevention strategies to beat back an epidemic killing more than 100,000 Americans each year.

Why it matters: The new money could help address system-wide failures that experts say have allowed overdose deaths to soar in recent years, such as limited treatment options, housing services and data to track the crisis.

Details: More than half ($279 million) is going to state and local health departments to improve overdose data surveillance and identify gaps in prevention and treatment strategies.

  • Over $80 million is headed to rural communities to expand treatment sites and the distribution of the overdose reversal treatment naloxone.
  • Nearly $58 million is to connect people to recovery support, which includes mental health care, housing services and job training.
  • About $19 million is slated for dismantling fentanyl trafficking operations, with roughly $7 million allocated toward expanding "Crime Gun Intelligence Centers" to track gun-related drug crimes.

What they're saying: The increase in fentanyl deaths is slowing, but lethal substances like xylazine and fentanyl analogues continue to pose a threat and require more resources, said a senior administration official.

Catch up quick: Biden proposed $46.1 billion for national drug control programs in March.

  • Last September, the administration gave $1.5 billion in funding to curb the opioid crisis.

Yes, but: Treatments for opioid use disorder aren't guaranteed to reach those most in need of it.

  • And as the first opioid overdose treatment hits the shelves in September, advocates and addiction experts worry the price is too high for widespread use.
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