The U.S. federal government is confronting the opioid epidemic with $485 million grant money given to all 50 states for prevention and treatment, announced Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price on April 19. Price spoke at a drug prevention summit in Atlanta on Wednesday and called the epidemic a crisis.
“As we think about pain we must not forget about the types of pain that can hurt the most but are often the hardest to treat. The pain of loneliness and despair, the feeling of being unloved or unvalued. Today’s epidemic is worse than the drug crisis that we’ve seen in the past. But at its cores it’s the latest chapter in the story of the human condition. Of man’s fallen nature and search for meaning and purpose in a broken world,” he said.
Price said this is not the end, another half a billion dollars will be given to states next year. The Trump administration has a five-part strategy to improve treatment, promote overdose reversing drug usage, strengthen public health surveillance for better understanding, provide support for research on pain and addiction, and advance practices for pain management.
A record-high number of 33,000 people fatally overdosed on opioids in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.