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Obama to request $1.1 billion to fight opioid and heroin abuse

President Obama will ask Congress to approve $1.1 billion in new funding to allow the administration and states to help combat opioid abuse and the heroin use epidemic.

In his final budget blueprint that will be released next Tuesday, Mr. Obama will ask Congress for $1 billion in mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment, the White House said Tuesday.

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The funding would support agreements between the federal government and states to expand access to treatment, and it would be used to help National Health Service Corps expand access to substance use and treatment providers and support an evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment programs.

Mr. Obama will also ask lawmakers to pass a more than $90 million increase to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to expand states' strategies to prevent prescription drug overdoses. A portion of that funding will be directed to rural areas.

This comes on top of previous actions by the Obama administration to address the epidemic. Last year, for example, the president announced new public and private sector actions to combat the issue and signed a presidential memorandum to encourage prescriber training and opioid use disorder treatment. The spending package he signed in December also included $100 million more than the previous year to address the epidemic.

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In November, the Drug Enforcement Administration said that heroin and prescription pain pills are among the nation's top drug threats and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths in 2014.

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