According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, deaths from drug overdoses reached an all-time in 2014, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reporting that of the 28,000 people who died from opioid overdoses that year, 10,500 of the deaths were heroin-related. In an effort to address the nationwide problem, President Obama is expected to sign Congress-approved legislation that “aims to help communities develop more treatment and overdose programs at a time when fewer than half the estimated 2.2 million Americans who need help for opioid abuse are receiving it,” according to CNBC.
Although the President acknowledges that the bill is a much-needed step in the right direction, the White House cautioned in a statement that it still “falls far short” of the necessary funding to bring about lasting improvement with regard to the lack of provisions for treatment in communities heavily affected by the drug addiction epidemic. The statement went on to emphasize that President Obama is signing the bill into law “because some action is better than none,” rather than because he agrees that the approved allotment of funding it allows to combat the issue is enough. Democrats have also voiced similar concerns about the bill, noting that given the current disagreements in Congress over next year’s funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s possible that the money approved for the bill would actually be delivered.
Under the new bill, $181 million per year is set to be allocated for funding of programs to treat drug addiction in U.S. communities. President Obama initially proposed an amount of $1.1 billion for funding of the programs.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.