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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

$100 Million for Substance Use Disorder Treatment

addiction treatment
Last week, the Senate voted in favor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bill that will give the Attorneys General the power to award grants for tackling the American prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. The almost unanimous support for the bill is a sign that lawmakers from both parties recognize how dire the situation has become. Just one day later, the White House announced that they plan to spend nearly $100 million for substance use disorder treatment expansion efforts, The Hill reports. The financial resources will be drawn from grants under the Affordable Care Act.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today,” said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a statement. “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment and integrating these services in health centers bolsters nationwide efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse, supports approximately 124,000 new patients accessing substance use treatment for recovery and helps save lives.”

The agency points out that it will help treatment facilities hire about 800 people to work with close to 124,000 new patients in need of care, according to the article. While the efforts from the different governmental branches is a step in the right direction, especially when you consider that over 70 people are dying from overdoses every day, there are some concerns that there is not enough funding to address the problem fully.

Shortly before the CARA vote last week, Senate democrats attempted to garner $600 million more in funding for the bill, the article reports. Unfortunately, the additional funding was not granted, and the bill’s goals will need to be accomplished with what it gets. Right after Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced the White House plan for $100 million in funding, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) went to speak with him.

We will continue to follow the news regarding CARA.

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