NEXSTAR (WASHINGTON D.C.)– Last year, the number of drug overdose deaths dropped for the first time in nearly 30 years, that’s according to the federal government. And now health officials say they’re continuing their efforts to keep that success going.
KX News Washington DC Correspondent Trevor Shirley reports on the huge amount of tax dollars being pumped into communities to help stop the epidemic, with more on the way.
Nearly $400-million will soon flow into communities battered by opioids.
Vice President Mike Pence says, “Each of these grants is going to be used to hire professionals, like counselors and social workers and nurses and licensed mental health providers.”
Vice President Pence announced the plan last week in eastern Kentucky.
The $400-million is part of a billion-dollar investment by the Trump administration to fight opioid addiction.
Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir shares, “I want to, by January 2021, have saved the equivalent of 10,000 lives that would have been lost at the peak point of our epidemic.”
Admiral Giroir says the grant money will pay to make drug abuse treatment a part of traditional healthcare facilities. It will provide more support in rural areas, and it will pay to expand the behavioral health workforce.
Admiral Giroir adds, “We are finally starting to really turn the epidemic around, but we have a long long way to go.”
Recent data released by the CDC shows the US may actually be starting to get an upper hand on the epidemic.
Vice President Pence says, “Last year, overdose deaths decreased by nearly 5 percent nationwide.”
Those metrics encourage health officials.
Admiral Giroir adds, “But the bottom line is, and I ask this to myself, is how do you know you’re being successful? And to me the bottom line is, are we saving lives?”
Giroir also says with this much tax money being handed out, oversight is key.
Admiral Giroir explains, “You have to follow the best science, and we police that.”
It’s an approach that officials hope will continue to pay off, and save lives.
For a full list of addiction treatment centers in North Dakota, click here to find a facility near you.