If you’re like many busy Americans, you probably haven’t had the time to comb through the many intricacies and fine points of the latest national budget to notice that it has dramatically increased funding for opioid addiction prevention. In fact, you’ve probably only heard partisan rhetoric about how either side bested the other during the negotiations. The good news for those struggling with addiction is that the newest plan to fund our nation (at least through September) includes billions of needed dollars to fight the wave of substance abuse and overdose that has consumed many of our friends and neighbors. The funding is part of a deal that was reached late Sunday night.
Continuing NIH’s Mission
The funding specifically calls for a $2 billion funding boost for the National Institutes of Mental Health over the next five months. It sends a clear signal that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle prioritize funding for medical research and intend to honor the agreements laid out in the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill that called for raising NIH funding and speeding approvals of new drugs and medical devices. This will be the second year running that Congress gives a $2 billion funding bump to the agency, which funds medical research across the country, reinforcing their commitment to fund opioid addiction prevention. The current administration has expressed the desire to cut NIH funding by nearly $6 billion in 2018.
Following the Money
Some of the key elements of the funding include:
- $400 Million for Alzheimer’s Research
- $476 Million for the National Cancer Institute
- $800 Million for Opioid Addiction Prevention
The money for opioid addiction prevention will be disbursed throughout all 50 states for things like treatment, community resources and more. It’s critical in strengthening the ongoing effort to address drug addiction at all levels.
What Else Do We Need?
The year 2015 represented a second consecutive record-setting year for opioid and heroin overdose, and there are no signs that this trend is slowing down. In addition to increased funding of heroin and opioid addiction prevention, it’s important that we effectively allocate these precious resources to areas in which they will do the most good. This means working with states to identify improvable areas of their addiction-prevention strategies and acting accordingly to provide support and assistance. Funding and focus and must combine to form a cohesive strategy in dealing with this pervasive and deadly health crisis.