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Why We Need More Resources for the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

President has called on Congress to pass $1.1 billion in new funding to make sure that every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment can get it.

Chart: Drug overdoses now take more lives every year than traffic accidents

Today, the House of Representatives voted on legislation highlighting the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. While the Obama administration welcomes these and other Congressional efforts to call attention to this public health crisis, they are not enough without the actual funding needed to prevent opioid use disorders and increase access to treatment and recovery services.

I have spoken with hundreds of parents and family members across the country who have lost loved ones to overdose. Too many of them shared similar stories about long waits for treatment or a lack of good treatment options in their communities.

That’s why the President has called on Congress to pass the $1.1 billion in new funding in his Budget to make sure that every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment can get the help they need.

The President's Budget would also support the placement of treatment providers in the communities most in need and would continue to develop effective treatment programs. This builds on current Administration efforts to expand evidence-based prevention strategies, increase access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, improve prescribing practices for pain medication, and support targeted enforcement activities.

Every day we lose more Americans to this devastating disease. And every day that passes without Congressional action on funding to support the treatment needs of those suffering from opioid use disorders is a missed opportunity to save lives.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The stories of loss are not the only ones I hear in my travels across the country. Millions of Americans are in recovery from opioid and other substance use disorders because they got the treatment and care they needed. That’s why we continue to call on Congress to provide the resources to ensure that every American who wants treatment can get it and start the road to recovery.