Trump budget to include billions to combat opioid epidemic

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President Trump’s budget will propose billions of dollars to combat the opioid epidemic plaguing the country, months after the administration designated the crisis a public health emergency.

The White House’s fiscal 2019 budget set to be released Monday will include nearly $17 billion for the opioid epidemic that’s killing more Americans per year than car accidents, according to an outline from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).


The Department of Health and Human Services will specifically receive a large chunk of those dollars to expand prevention, treatment, recovery and mental health services — $3 billion for 2018 and $10 billion for 2019, according to the outline.

The two-year budget deal Congress passed includes $6 billion over the next two years to help with mental health and opioid addiction. OMB’s outline says the president’s budget will account for the recent spending caps deal.

In mid-October, Trump declared the epidemic a national public health emergency, a move which the administration extended another 90 days last month.

The money didn’t free up millions of more dollars nor did it include a request to Congress for more funding, which has frustrated addiction advocates. They’ve argued more funding is needed to make the move effective in combating the rising rate of opioid overdose deaths, which increased nearly 28 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Every year, the president releases its budget, but Congress has the power of the purse, and often ignores or changes the White House’s asks. However, the document serves as a window into the administration’s priorities.

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