Congress to boost opioid treatment, prevention dollars

Congress is adding a multibillion-dollar boost to the omnibus to combat the opioid epidemic — an effort to bolster prevention, treatment and law enforcement initiatives to combat the crisis killing thousands of people each year.

The $1.3 trillion spending package allocates about $4 billion to the opioid epidemic, much of which is new money appropriated this year.

The omnibus includes $1 billion in new grants to states and tribes to fight the epidemic, at least $500 million for a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) effort to research opioid addiction, a $350 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prevention and surveillance, $130 million to help rural communities deal with the crisis, and more.

The extra money was first agreed to in February, when Congress passed a budget deal that included $6 billion over two years for opioid and mental health efforts. Advocates had been pushing for more funding to fight the crisis, which saw a nearly 28 percent increase in opioid-related deaths from 2015 to 2016.

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