White House announces $450 million to strengthen drug abuse recovery efforts

The White House on Thursday announced $450 million in funding for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services as President Joe Biden (pictured earlier this week discussing natural disasters and his administration's response) proclaimed September National Recovery Month. Photo by Samuel Corum/UPI

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The White House on Thursday announced $450 million for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services as President Biden proclaimed September National Recovery Month.

The White House celebrated more than 20 million Americans who have had "the courage" to seek help for substance abuse disorders.

The presidential proclamation comes on International Overdose Awareness Day and calls on all citizens, government agencies, private businesses and others to act to promote recovery and improve the health of the nation.

"Substance use disorder affects families in every corner of our country," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "Drug overdoses last year took more than 100,000 American lives. Addressing this crisis is a core pillar of my Unity Agenda -- one of the big issues we can tackle together as a nation."

Biden said true parity for mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment is essential to people's well-being.

He said his administration's American Rescue Plan delivered more than $5 billion to expand mental health and substance abuse disorder services.

The $450 million funding package announced Thursday included the CDC awarding $279 million to 49 states, the District of Columbia and 40 local health departments to help stop overdoses.

"The growing overdose crisis -- particularly among young people -- requires urgent action," said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Mandy K. Cohen in a statement. "To help, CDC is providing funding that will allow communities to respond more quickly, more effectively, and more equitably -- using data to drive action steps that reduce overdose deaths and related harms in communities as fast as possible."

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Thursday stated that an increasing share of overdose deaths between July 2019 and December 2021 involved counterfeit pill use.

They are especially dangerous because they look like pharmaceutical pills but often contain illegal and sometimes deadly fentanyl and illegal benzodiazepines.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding over $80 million to rural areas in 39 states to support response to opioid overdoses. The funding includes creating and expanding treatment sites in rural areas to provide medications to treat opioid use disorder.

It also helps pay for the lifesaving overdose reversal drug naloxone.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is providing over $57.6 million to "connect Americans to substance use treatment and recovery support services," according to the White House.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will use approximately $20.5 million on 164 new Drug-Free Communities Support Program awards for fiscal year 2023.

Rural EMS training programs are getting $6.6 million to help recruit and train EMS personnel.

An addition, $1 million is going into ONDCP's Real Deal on Fentanyl ad campaign.