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.