White House Announces $450 Million in Funding to Address Overdose Epidemic

White House Announces $450 Million in Funding to Address Overdose Epidemic
President Joe Biden speaks at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington on Aug. 31, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration announced $450 million in new funding to address the drug overdose epidemic on Aug. 31, in connection with International Overdose Awareness Day.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will allocate about $20.5 million for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, according to a statement from the White House.

The administration cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that noted a 13-month trend of the “leveling off” of recorded overdose deaths: “The Biden–Harris Administration is committed to building on this progress and doubling down on all efforts to reduce drug overdose deaths, save lives, and make our communities safer.”

The administration’s latest funding initiative, aligned with President Joe Biden’s Unity Agenda, is focused on expanding efforts to mitigate the overdose epidemic and save lives. The funding is intended to intensify the battle against the illegal drug trade.

This initiative will support 164 new projects in fiscal year 2023, joining the existing 587 continuation grant recipients. These community coalitions work on evidence-based prevention strategies, marking an investment of more than $93.8 million by the administration.

The CDC will also provide $279 million in grants through the Overdose Data to Action program. These grants will facilitate the expansion of harm reduction measures, establish connections to vital care, and provide essential data to effectively counter the evolving overdose crisis.

For the first time, the funding will also extend to city, county, and territorial health departments, aiming to bridge a gap in support for local communities.

The ONDCP has allocated more than $18.9 million to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program. This funding extends the earlier allocation of more than $275 million. The funding will contribute to projects across 33 regional HIDTAs, including the establishment and expansion of Crime Gun Intelligence Centers in 27 regional HIDTAs.

The administration noted that the goal of channeling the resources to those areas would reinforce its commitment to addressing the overdose crisis and reducing its impact on communities.

“Taken together, these measures will help save lives and make our communities safer,” the White House said in its statement.

President Biden previously declared Aug. 27 through Sept. 2 as Overdose Awareness Week, seeking to draw attention to the harrowing effects of illicit substances such as fentanyl and other drugs. The week-long observance aims to underscore the urgency of the epidemic and reinforce the administration’s commitment to curbing overdose-related fatalities.

“Every loss is a painful reminder that we must take bold action to end our Nation’s overdose epidemic,” President Biden said in the proclamation. “During Overdose Awareness Week, we reaffirm our commitment to beating this public health and public safety epidemic—in memory of all those we have lost and to protect all the lives we can still save.”

The announcement follows about a month after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new opioid overdose drug from a nonprofit company for over-the-counter (OTC) use.

The FDA has given approval to RiVive, manufactured by Harm Reduction Therapeutics, making it the second OTC naloxone product approved this year. Naloxone is thought to be a lifesaving drug that plays a crucial role in lowering opioid overdose deaths. When administered quickly, usually within minutes of spotting the initial signs of an opioid overdose, naloxone can successfully counteract the overdose effects.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf says naloxone is a “powerful tool” for countering opioid overdoses.

“Ensuring naloxone is widely available, especially as an approved OTC product, makes a critical tool available to help protect public health.”

From The Epoch Times

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