US President Joe Biden speaks during his State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. Biden urged unity to beat the opioid epidemic, proposing an increase in funding for addiction prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery. Pool Photo by Saul Loeb/UPI | License Photo
March 2 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden's 2022 budget calls for $41 billion for drug policy efforts to deal with drug addiction and overdoses.
The White House said in a statement Tuesday that the president's budget proposes a total of $23.5 billion for public health to reduce drug use and its consequences.
The Biden budget includes $10.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Services to pay for research, prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services.
The president's budget provides $5.8 billion for drug interdiction efforts, an increase over fiscal year 2021.
Biden's 2022 proposed budget provides a total of $17.5 billion for drug trafficking supply reduction efforts.
The Biden policy to combat drug addiction and overdoses calls for universal access to medication for opioid use disorder by 2025.
The White House said Biden is seeking to increase funding for public health and illicit drug supply reduction, to remove barriers to drug abuse treatment, and to reduce harm and save lives while fighting drug trafficking.
Specifically, the White House said, that includes efforts to eliminate unnecessary barriers that prevent medical providers from prescribing FDA-approved medications to their patients; lifting the moratorium on mobile vans providing methadone; supporting states funding the purchase of such vans; and beginning work on meeting individual treatment needs at times when people at high risk for an overdose need care and support.
According to a Lancet report, more than 1.2 million people will die from drug overdoses across North America by the end of the decade unless governments institute public health policies that treat drug addiction as a chronic condition and prioritize prevention.
More than 104,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the 12 month period ending in September 2021, a historic high.
In October 2021 Biden issued two executive orders sanctioning people allegedly involved in the international drug trade.
The Biden administration says it intends to "to expand evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and supply reduction approaches to save lives."
Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., applaud President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address
to a joint session of Congress. It was the first time two women had been seated behind the president for the speech. Pool Photo by Saul Loeb/UPI | License Photo