Maryland would be eligible for up to $17 million over two years to expand access to treatment for opioid addiction, according to an estimated breakdown of a $1.1 billion emergency funding request made by President Barack Obama to Congress.
While many agree that opioid overdose deaths have become a national epidemic, federal lawmakers have not yet agreed to allocate new money for treatment and prevention, and administration officials and Democrats supporting the measure acknowledged that immediate action is unlikely. So far, federal funding has been diverted from other sources including money earmarked for Ebola research.
Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy, used a Tuesday call with reporters about the estimated state funds to make a plea for approval of the emergency spending.
"Seventy-eight lives are lost a day" to opioids including heroin and fentanyl, as well as prescription medications such as oxycodone, Botticelli said, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.