Budget seeks to address prescription drug abuse

The White House's 2016 budget proposal takes aim at prescription drug abuse with a variety of new measures designed to lower the number of Americans killed by opioid overdoses.

The budget, released Monday, would increase funding for programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and other agencies to fight prescription drug abuse.

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The administration also proposes increasing funding for states to expand their own prescription drug monitoring programs and to support the increased use of naloxone by first responders.

Naloxone is a medication used to counter the effects of overdose from opioids such as morphine, heroin and methadone.

"Every day, more than 100 people die as a result of drug overdose, and more than 6,700 are treated in emergency departments," a budget summary document stated.

"Abuse of prescription and illicit drugs, such as heroin, is an urgent public health concern."

Federal health officials have characterized prescription drug abuse as an epidemic in the United States, as the number of prescriptions filled for powerful pain relievers rises.

In total, Obama's budget blueprint would spend nearly $4 trillion, exceeding the spending limits introduced under the 2011 budget deal. Officials estimate the budget would cut deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years.

Read more about the proposal — which includes tax increases on the wealthy and increased spending on infrastructure — here.