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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The opioid crisis seems to finally be slowing down, but some treatment centers say that fragile progress could slip away if Congress doesn't step in to renew a critical funding stream that's quickly running dry.

The big picture: Congress and the Trump administration signed off in 2017 on a $3.3 billion grant program to helped bolster access to treatment. But that money is beginning to run out, The New York Times' Abby Goodnough reports.

  • The problem is especially serious in states that haven't expanded Medicaid. The program offers coverage for addiction treatment that non-expansion states have to make up for with their grant funding.
  • North Carolina and Kansas both exhausted portions of their funding months ahead of schedule and Missouri is on a similar trajectory, per NYT.
  • Some treatment centers are cutting back on certain services to stretch their money further.

What they're saying: "When we first heard the money was coming, I remember thinking, 'Wow, that's a lot,'" Nora Bock, who helps run treatment programs for Missouri's state government, told the Times. "Now it's like, 'Oh my God, it's nowhere near enough.'"

What's next: Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio told NYT he's concerned that because the rate of overdose deaths nationwide is beginning to level off, Congress could get distracted and turn to other priorities, letting another round of funding wither.

My thought bubble: I'd be less concerned about this next round of funding falling through than the one after that, or the one after that.

  • The number of overdose deaths is still staggering, and there are a lot of people in Congress (including Portman) who are still laser-focused on this epidemic.
  • But addiction treatment and recovery can be a long — sometimes lifelong — process.
  • Even if Congress comes through this time, the fear alone is a reminder that all one-time funding streams eventually run out, putting treatment programs and other long-term supports further in jeopardy every time the acute crisis gets a little better.

Go deeper: There are more opioid overdoses in the suburbs than ever

Go deeper

55 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.