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WH Gets Tough on Painkiller Overdose with New Budget Plan

The White House is sticking to its pledge to fight the battle against painkiller overdose by revealing a 2-pronged budget plan.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget will include $1 billion in new, mandatory funding that will expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse — including opioid painkillers and heroin use. The White House say the goal of the funding is to help people with an opioid addiction seek, complete, and sustain treatment recovery.

The second aspect of the funding is the inclusion of about $500 million to:

  • expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies.
  • increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs.
  • improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
  • support targeted enforcement activities.

While dentists are prescribing fewer opioids than in past years, the death rate from painkiller overdose in the U.S. more than doubled from 6 to 13.8 per 100,000 population from 1999 to 2013, according to a new CDC report.

In 2012, U.S. dentists prescribed more than 18 million opioids for pain relief, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. However, that number pales in comparison to the 43.6 million opioids prescribed, for instance, by internal medicine physicians, according to the study data.

Some of the President’s preventive opioid funding will go specifically to rural areas. According to the White House, the rates of overdose and opioid use are “particularly high” in these areas.