Obama Vows To Step Up Fight Against Opioid Abuse
President Obama visited Atlanta Tuesday to lay out his administration's plans to step up its fight against what it calls the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.
Opioids are highly addictive drugs that include both prescription painkillers and illegal narcotics like heroin.
Obama spoke before drug treatment providers, lawmakers, and police at the National Prescription Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.
"This is not something that’s just restricted to a small set of communities, "Obama said. "This is affecting everyone: young, old, men, women, children, rural, urban, suburban."
Obama called for $1.1 billion to provide more medication-based treatment for people dealing with opioid addiction. He also announced a new effort from more than 60 medical schools to increase training for prescription opioid prescribers.
The issue of opioid addiction is especially acute in Georgia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Georgia was one of only 14 states to see a statistically significant increase in the number of opioid-related deaths between 2013 and 2014.
Efforts are being made in the state to address the problem, but progress has come slowly.
Still, federal funds might speed things up. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently granted Georgia more than $700,000 to open two health centers in the state to provide substance abuse services: one in Atlanta, one in Augusta.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014, more than any year on record.