President Donald Trump, in speaking from the White House's Roosevelt Room Wednesday, announced $1.8 billion in grants to help states and local governments fight the U.S. opioid epidemic.
The money was approved and appropriated by Congress last year.
"These funds will be delivered to the communities where their help is most needed," the president said. “Nothing is more important than defeating the opioid and addiction crisis.”
The Department of Health and Human Services said the funds will be used to track opioid overdoses and expand the use of medication-assisted treatment through “telemedicine to youth-focused, community-based prevention efforts, recovery supports like employment coaching, and support for the distribution of naloxone.”
The Trump administration will also spend a “great deal” to find a non-addictive painkiller.
In addition to the $1.8 in grants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will get $900 million under a three-year program to provide treatment and recovery services. About $300 million of that will be split among 47 states and Washington, D.C. in the first year.
This funding is part of the White House’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis, including reducing the demand and over-prescription of drugs; raising awareness through anti-drug campaigns and ramping up illegal drug seizures.
In 2018 Trump worked with Congress to pass the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which makes medical treatment for opioid addiction more widely available. The White House says this is the “largest legislative package addressing a single drug crisis in history.”
“So many lives are stopped cold by drugs,” Trump said in his address. “My administration is determined to use every resource at our disposal to smash the grip of addiction.”
About 130 Americans die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses, the CDC reported.