Obama: Science-Based Methods, More Funding Needed to Fight Opioid Abuse

Atlanta- President Obama is hoping that Congress will heed his call for more funding to reduce opioid abuse. He said in Atlanta on Tuesday that the issue is a “public health problem,” not a “criminal” one.

The president participated in a panel discussion on combating opioid abuse at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. He praised “science-based” strategies, such as medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and syringe-exchange programs.

Opioids are a class of drug that include prescription painkillers and heroin. Calling abuse of the drugs an “epidemic,” Obama said that more Americans die of opioid overdose per year than traffic accidents.

“The problem we have right now is that treatment is greatly underfunded,” Obama said.

The president has asked Congress to allocate over $1 billion to fight opioid abuse. The White House says that much of this money would go to the states to help expand their capacity to treat people struggling with addiction.

Obama also took a thinly veiled jab at Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, saying that some people seeking treatment may not have health insurance “because maybe the governor didn’t expand Medicaid like they should have under the A.C.A.”
The summit was organized by Operation UNITE, an organization that fights illegal drug use. Operation UNITE was founded by Congressman Hal Rodgers (R-KY) in 2003.
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By James C. Thompson

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