The Obama Administration is launching a national campaign this week to highlight the federal government’s fight to combat heroin and opioid addiction. And the White House is pressing Congress to fund the efforts.
A new investigation by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity finds that some pharmaceutical companies and advocacy groups are lobbying state lawmakers, rather than their federal counterparts, to fight limits on prescription painkillers.
The investigators say last year in Michigan alone, health providers wrote more than 9 million prescriptions for opioid medications.
In July Congress authorized more than $180 billion to expand access to drugs that treat heroin overdoses and promote treating those addicted to opioids instead of jailing them.
But Obama Administration officials say the Congressional committees in charge of fiscal matters have yet to provide the funding.
So the Administration is applying pressure by sending officials across the country to announce new programs to fight opioid abuse.
That includes U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who says his department is creating a program where people in rural areas can consult with addiction specialists through teleconferencing.
WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter spoke with Vilsack about what the Administration is doing to fight the epidemic – and the frightening consequences of opioid addiction.