The Trump administration is releasing $485 million in federal drug treatment grants that were authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act signed by President Obama last December.
Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, announced the grants to all 50 states and four U.S. territories during a drug addiction prevention summit in Atlanta on Wednesday. He said the funding would be used as part of a multi-staged effort to substantially increase access to opioid addiction treatment, develop “cutting edge research” and encourage better medical practices to help patients manage their pain without developing addictions.
The Obama administration and a bipartisan coalition in Congress pressed for action last year to address the deadly drug epidemic, beginning with passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act last July. Now, as the first round of federal funding is beginning to flow to the states, the Trump administration is deliberating over ways to put its mark on the effort.
Noting that prescription drug pain killers were responsible for over 33,000 deaths in 2015 alone, Price declared that “We lose a Vietnam War every single year to drug overdoses” in terms of overall deaths.
President Trump recently announced the creation of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. He ordered it to study the scope and effectiveness of the federal response to the nationwide crisis and to come up with recommendations for improvements.
However, the depth of Trump’s commitment to combatting opioid addiction remains to be seen. For one thing, even as Trump has promised to focus on the problem, his administration is seeking to slash spending by the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, Medicaid and other health-related programs.
The grants announced by Price this week constitute the first round of federal assistance to the states. While population was a factor in distributing the funds, the grants were skewed towards states with the highest rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment, according to HHS.
The five states with the highest overdose rates include Ohio, which will receive $26 million in federal grants, Kentucky, which was allotted $10.5 million, West Virginia, $5.8 million, New Hampshire, $3.1 million and Rhode Island, $2.16 million.
Among the more heavily populated states, California will receive $44.7 million, Texas $27.3 million, and New Jersey $12.9 million.
Here is a breakdown of how the money will be distributed among the 50 states and U.S. territories:
|District of Columbia||$2,000,000|