Trump administration gives grant for Georgia to fight opioid abuse

The Trump administration has distributed grants to states to combat the opioid epidemic. Georgia received $29.3 million this week.
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The Trump administration has distributed grants to states to combat the opioid epidemic. Georgia received $29.3 million this week.

Georgia this week received $29.3 million to treat opioid addiction, intended to fund medication-assisted treatments as well as mental health services combined with substance use treatment.

Congress approved the money in March, and the Trump administration is distributing it. The Georgia grants are part of $1 billion that the administration gave out nationwide.

The federal government is grappling with how to fight an epidemic that has cost the nation an estimated $1 trillion since 2000. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have each passed separate versions of another funding effort. The Senate’s package of 70 bills, called the Opioid Crisis Response Act, spans efforts from combating the mailing of fentanyl to easing prescriptions for rehab drugs, and it amounts to more than $8 billion.

The legislation is one of the few bipartisan efforts to move forward so far this year and is expected to make it through negotiations to pass and become law.

The problem, according to experts, is that that’s hardly enough.

“While the legislation passed today is a step in the right direction, greater investments are needed to respond to a crisis of this magnitude,” said Arthur Evans, the CEO of the American Psychological Association. “Only about one in 10 Americans with a substance use disorder receives adequate treatment, and this statistic won’t change without major new investments in the full spectrum of prevention, treatment and recovery services. We did this for HIV/AIDS, and now we need to do it with opioids.”

While deaths from overdoses are starting to peak in some others states, in Georgia they're still increasing.  Georgia gutted its state funding for addiction during the recession and has only just restarted it. Georgia deaths from addiction, driven by the opioid crisis, increased by 16 percent last year, according to preliminary data compiled by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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