In a recent statement from the White House, President Obama stated he will be asking congress for $1.1 billion in additional funding to address and combat the growing opioid epidemic, which includes prescription pain medication as well as heroin.

Roughly half the funding will go towards expanding treatment facilities for those already suffering from opioid addiction. The balance of the sum will be used to improve existing programs and implement new programs to crack down on the illegal sale of both prescription and non-prescription opioids. This includes an October 2015 requirement that federal doctors receive additional training with regards to prescribing opioids.

Another concern related to the proposal of new measures by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is the development of more strict protocols in creating and releasing new drugs, as well as promoting safer, alternative pain management options.

Opiate-related overdoses and deaths have been one of the few public health issues to worsen over the past several years, now outnumbering deaths from motor-vehicle crashes.

Submitted by Lloyd Fitzsimmons

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