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Opioid Money in Spending Bill Appreciated But Not Enough, Say States

The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016.

The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016.

But some advocates say the funding included in the spending plan the president signed Friday is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis. A White House report last fall put the cost to the country of the overdose epidemic at more than $500 billion a year.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who served on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission last year, said there are clear solutions but that Congress needs to devote more money to them.

“We still have lacked the insight that this is a crisis, a cataclysmic crisis,” he said.

By comparison, the Kaiser Family Foundation found the U.S. is spending more than $7 billion annually on discretionary domestic funding on AIDS, an epidemic with a death toll that peaked in 1995 at 43,000.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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