White House pushes for opioid funding

As part of its push for funding, the Biden administration is pointing to new survey data showing millions of Americans did not get treatment for substance use disorders.


Data from the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed there were more than 48 million Americans who experienced a substance use disorder in 2022, the White House said, and 3 out of 4 did not get treatment. 


“Overdose deaths have flattened in 2022 and 2023 after sharp increases from 2019 to 2021. That’s progress. And it is important to recognize, but we still have a long way to go. And today’s data underscores this point,” said White House Drug Policy Director Rahul Gupta.


“The bottom line is that we’re dealing with a historic and unprecedented epidemic. And it requires historic and unprecedented funding to match the scale and President Biden’s supplemental funding request will help us get there.” 


In October, the administration asked for more than $1.2 billion to crack down on the trafficking of illicit drugs like fentanyl, as well as $1.55 billion to expand opioid addiction treatment and harm reduction programs provided under State Opioid Response grants.  


“Right now, the President’s emergency supplemental budget request is before Congress with a request for additional, critical funds to take on the overdose crisis,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Now Congress must do its part.” 


Legislation to address opioid overdoses hasn’t come to a floor vote in either chamber this year.  


The SUPPORT Act, a bill passed in 2018 that would provide $20 billion toward opioid use treatment, prevention and recovery, expired Sept. 30. The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed a limited version of the bill in July, but the Senate Health committee has not scheduled a hearing or markup on reauthorization.  


Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said he wants to include opioid funding in a year-end bill, but the committee’s top Republican, Bill Cassidy (La.), introduced his own version of the bill earlier this year and has been pressing Sanders to hold a hearing and markup this year to pass the reauthorization separately.

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