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  • White House Proposes $1.1 Billion to Reduce Opioid Abuse

    In a proposal aimed in part at building on an initiative that includes APTA, President Barack Obama has designated $1.1 billion in new funding over 2 years to intensify the fight against the country's opioid use and heroin abuse epidemic.

    According to a White House fact sheet, Obama's proposal takes a "2-pronged approach" to address the drug problem: $1 billion in new mandatory funding for expanding treatment for individuals with an opioid use disorder, and $500 million to increase prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, including more funding for medication-assisted treatment. Some of the funds will be directed specifically to rural areas of the country, which have seen disproportionately high levels of abuse and overdose.

    The proposal, which requires congressional approval, further intensifies the administration's focus on the opioid abuse epidemic. That focus received national attention in October 2015, when Obama announced the creation of a public- private partnership to combat opioid abuse and heroin use. APTA is participating in the initiative along with 39 other health care provider groups that include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Nurses Association.

    APTA has long advocated for the role of the physical therapist (PT) in pain management, using its MoveForwardPT.com website to educate the public, and featuring new approaches to pain treatment being used by PTs in a 2014 feature story in PT in Motion magazine. More recently, the August 2015 issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), APTA's peer-reviewed journal, included a discussion of how to interpret the burgeoning effectiveness evidence from recent clinical trials and systematic reviews on pain treatment.