Local addiction fighters wish Trump budget had more dollars

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Opioid Budget (WPVI)

Federal funds for addiction programs essentially same as 10 years ago
Drug overdoses took more than 64,000 lives in the U.S. in 2016.

But to those fighting drug addiction in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys, it's more like 2007.

That's because federal funding for addiction treatment efforts has barely increased since then, despite the rising toll of opioids.

President Trump's proposed budget calls for more than 30 million dollars to fight drugs.

However, most of it isn't going to the drug czar's office.

The money would go to the departments of Justice, and Health & Human Services, instead of the Office of Drug Policy.

Experts in the field say today's addicts need more complex treatment, though it can also be more successful.

So they need MORE resources to stop the opioid epidemic.

"There's such a demand right now, that what people are thinking, what governments are thinking is that if we reduce the amount of services we give each person, we can make it last longer. And for addiction, particularly opioids, that's like the kiss of death," says Mike Harle, the C.E.O. of Gaudenzia, Inc.

Harle says there's an urgent need for more funds for infrastructure, the building blocks to establish long-term treatment in a community.

He says his staff hasn't had pay raises in several years, and there's always the need for more treatment counselors, support staff, temporary, and permanent housing.

The White House believes the allocation in the fiscal 2019 budget is adequate.

In October, it declared the opioid crisis a 'public health emergency,' and says it still remains a "top priority" for the administration.
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