President Biden on Friday announced that his administration would distribute $1.5 billion to states and territories, including tribal lands, to fund responses to opioid overdoses and support recovery.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will disseminate the funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response and Tribal Opioid Response grant programs as part of National Recovery Month.
The grants will include over $104 million allocated to rural areas to expand treatment and prevention, $20.5 million to increase access to recovery supports across the country and $12 million to bolster law enforcement in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).
“Our nation is facing 108,000 overdose deaths in just 12 months. That’s one life lost every five minutes around the clock,” said Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Rahul Gupta at a White House overdose briefing on Thursday.
“And President Biden and this administration are taking historic actions to meet this challenge.”
The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), a multi-year initiative to prevent overdose deaths in rural parts of the country, will receive money to be delegated to public, private, and nonprofit entities working on the issue of substance abuse.
The $20.5 million in recovery supports will connect those in the drug court system with community resources to aid their behavioral health and the $12 million in law enforcement funding will foster public safety partnerships and prevention of gun crime related to drug trafficking.
“Combating the nation’s addiction and overdose crisis indeed depends on collaboration between federal entities, state, local and tribal communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Mental Health and Substance Use Miriam Delphin-Rittmon at Thursday’s briefing.
“But I want to ensure that we remain equally focused on the individuals in crisis and individuals in recovery.”
Along with the new funding, the Biden administration published new guidance to facilitate greater access to FDA-approved naloxone products, which treat opioid overdoses in emergency situations, and guidance for employers to create “Recovery-Ready Workplaces.”
The White House also announced additional financial sanctions on individuals and entities involved in drug trafficking through the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The individuals sanctioned include some tied to the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), a drug trafficking organization out of Mexico that smuggles a “significant proportion of illicit fentanyl” into the country.
The president announced that his FY 2023 budget request is an unprecedented $42.5 billion for National Drug Control Program agencies, increasing by $3.2 billion from his FY 2022 request.