Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially announced that $12 million in grants and funding will be provided to help law enforcement tackle certain parts of the opioid crisis, particularly the production and trafficking of the drug on local levels.
There were more drug-related deaths in 2016 than the entire Vietnam War and car crashes, gun violence, and HIV/AIDS ever did in a single year (Vox). The President declared the opioid problem a “public health emergency” in October of 2017, in contrast to a national emergency, which would have made funds for treatment, prescription monitoring etc. more rapidly available. Instead, there has been no substantial funding allocated to combating the issue until this measly attempt.
Experts say it will take over $183 BILLION over ten years to combat this crisis. Providing $12 million to this multi-billion dollar problem is like tossing a glass of water on a forest fire. Even with the money coming from the 21st Century Cures Act, this crisis is severely underfunded. If this doesn’t get sorted out soon, our ability to get this epidemic under control will go up in flames.
For a crash course on the opioid problem and what it will take to actually defeat it, VOX goes in-depth.