By MARK FLEMINGERPublished May 11, 2018 12:37:30US President Donald Trump has approved a $50.3 billion package to support efforts to combat the opioid crisis in the United States, the White House announced.
The package will provide $15.8 billion in direct aid to states and localities, including $10 billion in grants for addiction treatment and treatment-related health services.
The president said he wants to make sure that all Americans have access to treatment and rehabilitation programs and to make it easier for them to obtain employment, said White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters.
It is a significant and welcome step toward ending the epidemic, said Vice President Mike Pence, who also signed the legislation.
The legislation, signed into law by Trump in early June, would provide $150 billion over the next 10 years to the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the largest single grant.
The bill would also provide $7 billion in additional funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy to combat drug trafficking, as well as $5 billion in supplemental funding to fight human trafficking and other forms of trafficking.
The funding would go toward drug treatment and other treatment- related health services for people in recovery from addiction, the bill said.
The $50 million would be distributed among the 10 states and cities with the highest levels of opioid-related overdose deaths, the Department of Justice said.
It comes after Trump signed a supplemental bill on Thursday to boost the number of National Institutes for Health grant dollars available to states to combat opioids, which have caused a dramatic spike in deaths in recent months.
Trump also signed a bill on Friday that would allow states to receive up to $10 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop programs to fight opioid abuse.
Trump is seeking to curb opioid addiction in the US with the so-called “war on drugs” in which he has directed federal law enforcement officials to target individuals, gangs, and businesses for prosecution.
Trump has called for a national opioid emergency to help fight the crisis, which he says has cost the US economy $2 trillion in lost economic output.
He has also called for the construction of a national drug-dealing task force to combat drugs, and for a nationwide pilot program for state and local police departments to conduct random testing of heroin users to test for opioid use and other drugs.
In the first two weeks of the year, the US has seen the highest number of opioid overdoses in at least four decades, according to the Substance Use and Misuse Prevention (SAMHSA) office.
The latest data showed a staggering 10.5 million Americans died of an opioid overdose, the most since the federal government began collecting data on the disease in 2000.
President Donald Trump signed into effect a $25.5 billion package of emergency funding Friday to help states and municipalities deal with the opioid epidemic.
The deal, signed by Trump at the White Trump Tower, comes as opioid addiction is becoming a growing public health problem in the U.S.
The opioid crisis has become a major concern among Americans who are turning to prescription opioids to treat chronic pain and other symptoms of a variety of illnesses, including cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.
The federal government has funded some $2.7 billion for opioid treatment and related health programs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is also working with states to help address the problem, but it is not providing direct funding for this effort.
The White House said the opioid bill is part of a package of bipartisan measures to combat a nationwide opioid epidemic that has cost $2 billion in economic output and has led to more than 20,000 deaths in the last year.
The Department of Defense, which is responsible for coordinating federal response to drug-related disasters, has pledged to help combat the crisis.
Trump said in June that he would work with Congress to ensure that the funding from the emergency supplemental package will be used to help reduce the opioid problem.
“As we move forward, we will continue to take the fight to the opioid traffickers and those who use our communities for their profits,” Trump said in a statement.