As the opioid epidemic continues to rage across the country, the president is looking to give health care a big boost in the form of a billion-dollar potential commitment.

The White House announced on Tuesday that it’s proposing to put some $1.1 billion in new funding toward fighting the surging use of heroin and prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. The Centers for Disease Control say that 2014 was a record-high year for opioid overdose deaths, taking the lives of almost 30,000 individuals — a 14 percent uptick from the previous year.

President Obama’s proposed 2017 budget includes:

  • $920 million to support cooperative agreements with states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.
  • $50 million from the National Health Service Corps to expand access to substance abuse treatment.
  • $30 million to evaluate the effectiveness of programs that use medication-assisted treatment, and identify ways to improve treatment for those with opioid addictions.

In a statement Tuesday, American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack expressed strong support for both the administration’s work to address opioid abuse, along with guidelines recently proposed by the CDC to help providers in prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

“Every day, hospitals see the devastating toll of opioid abuse on patients, their families and their communities,” Pollack said. “That is why the AHA applauds the new funding proposed today by the Administration to help people with opioid use disorders and heroin addiction get needed care. The critical investment in medication-assisted treatment will go a long way in addressing this crisis.”

For more on the opioid crisis, be sure to check out H&HN contributor Emily Friedman’s blog from yesterday on the subject, and our January report on how hospitals are backing increased use of one opioid antidote.