The opiate epidemic in the United States continues to grow with not just heroin, but prescription pain killers too. In years past, the federal government hefted a single-pronged spear by focusing primarily on drug trafficking. However, the FY 2016 budget proposes a much more comprehensive line of attack towards the opiate epidemic.
This broader (and deeper-pocketed) three-prong approach covers:
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs
- Addressing domestic and transnational drug trafficking
Each day more people die from drug overdoses than car accidents. The majority of these overdoses aren’t from cocaine or designer drugs but heroin and prescription painkillers. The escalation of the opiate epidemic isn’t modest. Even with an intense focus on this problem in the media over the last few years, the disturbing fact is deaths related to prescription painkillers is up 300% since 1999. This is a critical public health issue.
Earmarks of New Federal Funding
Whether you are someone struggling with addiction, a family member, treatment professional or a concerned citizen, this funding will provide significant resources. Prevention funding includes education, technical assistance, treatment and training based on evidence-based practices and acute needs. Medication assisted treatment, and other clinical services will be beefed up with grants and funding for both state-level public programs, as well as those in the criminal justice systems. Long term recovery support is integrated into the funding umbrella.
Tamping the opiate epidemic also means eliminating drug trafficking at the point of origin, as well as via local suppliers. This has proven challenging in the past, but federal and more local law enforcement offices will be able to collaborate more seamlessly, sharing hard and soft resources.