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19 April
Uncertainty leaves $400 million worth funds untouched despite worsening opioid crisis
By APAH Team

Uncertainty leaves $400 million worth funds untouched despite worsening opioid crisis

The largescale deaths in 2016 due to drug overdoses, which went up to 63,600, left the federal authorities baffled. The fact that nearly more than 42,200 of these deaths were linked to opioids further intensified the concern. The United States has been reeling under the threat of opioid crisis for a long time. In order to tame the menace, the authorities have imposed many rules and regulations, such as limiting the writing of prescriptions, keeping tabs on the opioids purchased or consumed by a user, increasing the treatment facilities and staff, and even allocating huge funds to the states for opioid treatment and recovery programs. However, according to a recent report, nearly $400 million is left unspent of the $500 million worth of opioid relief funds allocated under the 21st Century Cures Act by the government in 2017. Shockingly, the gap occurred even after the reports suggested a 13 percent rise in drug overdoses in 2016.

Every year, Congress allocates funds to each state to help them build proper support and fighting mechanisms against the opioid crisis that claims nearly 100 lives per day. These funds are aimed at providing easy and affordable access to health care facilities and more treatment options to people battling with opioid addiction. With more than three-quarters of the allotted funds remaining untouched, it has spurred a controversy. Many concerned researchers, policymakers and other experts have also termed it as a “total failure.”

Shortcomings hampering appropriate use of allotted funds

The funds allotted to the states are a part of $1 billion commitment over two years authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed by the former President Barack Obama before leaving office. Since the funds expires within two years, it has become one of the prime reasons for not disbursing the funds ahead. According to the state officials, the expiry period of the funds is making it hard for them to make serious investments in addiction treatment and mental health care. They are also not able to persuade health care providers to participate in programs; as a result, a number of states tend to draft and shelve various plans due to uncertainty.

Additionally, they are facing a problem in hiring the workforce in the absence of sustainability of the programs. Therefore, it is important for the government to consider the issue as a serious roadblock and work upon making financial commitment for a comparatively longer period. To make things worse, some of the states do not have sufficient procedures in place to assign state contracts. For example, in New Hampshire, every contract that exceeds the funding of $25,000 must have the approval from a five-member council. This makes the entire process of allocating fund a tedious process. Besides, the funding boosts only limited types of programs, rather than covering the aggressive and extensive treatment required by the people suffering from opioid addiction.

Plug in the gaps

In the wake of a rapid surge in opioid epidemic, the federal authorities are working hard to control the rate of abuse and curb the menace. However, due to the lack of proper policies, uncertainties related to funding and other structural gaps, the efforts are going for a toss. It has become important for every individual to take the onus and contribute by avoiding and preventing any misuse or abuse of drugs, as well as seeking immediate medical help if experiencing any symptoms. Like any disease, opioid addiction is a treatable condition. It can be treated with medications, therapies or a combination of both, depending on the type, severity and duration of the condition.

Essentially, under no circumstances, one should self-medicate himself or herself with alcohol or other illicit drugs to deal with his or her symptoms; Indulgence in such a measure can aggravate the condition largely. In addition, practices like cold turkey should be strictly avoided, as it can lead to painful withdrawals symptoms, which can also be fatal at times.

Therefore, if you or your loved one struggling with opioid addiction, you can seek help from the Arizona Prescription Abuse Helpline. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-692-3563 or chat online with our experts to know about the best addiction treatment centers in Arizona. Our certified representatives can also help you to connect with the state-of-the-art addiction rehab in Arizona.

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