WASHINGTON – On International Overdose Awareness Day, the Biden Administration is announcing more than $450 million in new funding to fight the nation’s drug epidemic. The White House says the money will be used to strengthen prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services, as well as crackdown on illicit drug trafficking.
The announcement comes as the United States is experiencing its deadliest drug epidemic in history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 110,000 Americans lost their lives to drugs in 2022. However, the Biden Administration is optimistic that the increase in deaths is slowing.
Of the new funding, more than half ($279 million) will go to state and local health departments to expand harm reduction strategies, link people to life-saving care, and make the latest data available to identify gaps in prevention and treatment strategies. For the first time, in addition to funding state health departments to prevent drug overdose, the CDC is providing funding directly to city, county, and territorial health departments.
Another $57.6 million will be used to improve treatment for Americans struggling with substance use disorder, including building recovery centers, improving programs, and training EMS personnel in rural areas about addiction.
Almost $19 million will be used to fight drug trafficking, adding to the more than $275 million in base funding released earlier this year.
Despite the increase in funding targeting the opioid crisis, Republicans running for president have questioned whether Biden’s response has been significant enough. Both Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have mentioned using military force to attack the Mexican drug cartels bringing fentanyl across the border.