NY Senator Schumer calls for more federal funds to combat opioid epidemic
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced $132,899 as federal funding to combat the opioid crisis in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties of New York. The grant, given under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine program, will aid in improving emergency response to opioid overdoses in the Southern Tier Region to promote a distance-learning program in the region.
Sen. Schumer, a Democrat representing NY, is a strong advocate of federal funding that could bolster the fight against opioids. His concern evinces from the fact that overdose deaths related to opioids continue to surge in the United States. About 66 percent of the country’s drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Moreover, the number of drug overdose deaths, including prescription opioids and heroin, in 2016 were five times higher than in 1999.
“That’s a jarring wake-up call,” said Sen. Schumer. Since the opioid epidemic has spread to Western New York, it is time to fight the epidemic, he said. As the epidemic may continue to spiral, he feels the need for more ways of prevention. For this, Schumer said, it is time to push for an increase in federal funding to provide better help to support the agencies fighting the epidemic.
Efforts too little to deal with epidemic
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and several other agencies have been involved in prevention and recovery programs across the country in the wake of the drug menace which has been on the rise for two decades. Despite the alarming figures and statistics of the opioid crisis in the U.S., the efforts have been too little to put an end to this epidemic.
Reducing the amount of prescription painkillers was the only action taken, which were still three times higher in 2015 than what they were in 1999. The steps initiated to stop drugs like heroin and fentanyl from entering the U.S did not yield any result. Experts are of the view that significant new funding is essential to deal with the crisis.
Quoting a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Schumer said that there had been a drop in life expectancy for two successive years and probably the biggest reason behind this were the deaths caused by overdose. An increase in funds was sought to cater to the domestic needs, which included prevention of opioid abuse.
“An increase in funding of the kind we are pushing for will bring us a lot closer to that goal. The money that is needed has not been put and that is why we have to do it now. The president’s own commission said we need more money,” he said.
Seek timely treatment to overcome addiction
Despite several ongoing awareness campaigns through media and educational programs, aimed to discourage people from abusing drugs, it is still rampant. It is important to ensure that the best possible assistance is available for recovery from addiction and moving towards a healthy life.
Drug reform advocates resent that a vast amount of money goes into imprisoning drug offenders. Instead, additional funds should be provided for prevention of addiction among users and offering treatment. While waiting for the process to clear and funds to arrive, the best solution would be to start educating people about the basic realities of the traumatic effects of addiction. However, one of the prime concerns for those coping with addiction face is finding a suitable treatment facility near them.
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction and requires treatment, contact the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline immediately. A call at our drug abuse helpline number 866-403-5607 or online chat can help you find one of the best inpatient drug abuse treatment centers or outpatient drug abuse treatment centers, depending on the need.