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White House Proposes $1.1B in Funding to Fight Opioid Abuse

FILE - President Barack Obama and others listen to Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster, foreground, during an event at Charleston, W.Va., where Obama hosted a community discussion on prescription drug and heroin abuse, Oct. 21, 2015.

President Barack Obama has proposed $1.1 billion in new federal spending to address the growing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use in the U.S., the White House said Tuesday.

The request comes as part of his fiscal 2017 budget and would be spread out over two years.

The funding would include $920 million to support U.S. states in providing access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, such as methadone. Another $80 million would go toward funding providers offering treatment services for users and evaluating the efficacy of treatment programs.

Also included in the president's budget is $500 million to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies; increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs; improve access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug; and support targeted enforcement activities.

"Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs," the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription pain medications and heroin, were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014.