The Biden administration announced nearly $1.5 billion funding to states and territories to address the worsening opioid crisis.
The White House says the funding will expand access to substance use treatment and prevention, recovery support, and education. It will also facilitate better access to naloxone, used to reverse opioid overuse, products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Additional funding will be allocated to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, supporting law enforcement officials working to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking.
For the fiscal year 2023, the Biden administration requests $42.5 billion in funding from Congress for the National Drug Control Program, a $3.2 billion increase over the fiscal year 2022.
More than 107,000 people died from a drug overdose in the US in 2021, an increase of nearly 15% from the previous year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows. Drug poisonings are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45.
Last year, synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, accounted for 71,238 deaths. Analgesic fentanyl, typically prescribed to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery, is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In August, the DEA issued a warning over the increasing availability of colorful fentanyl, known as “rainbow fentanyl.”
“Rainbow fentanyl — fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes, and sizes — is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in a press release.