Feds to distribute $53 million to states to fight opioids

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says it will distribute $53 million to 44 states, including North Carolina, in an effort to curb opioid abuse.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell says the funding will focus on reducing over-prescribing of pain killers, increasing access to treatment and making sure the antidote naloxone is widely available.

The administration is also calling on Congress to provide $1.1 billion in new money, saying legislation recently signed into law didn’t do enough to expand treatment. That bill authorized $181 million in new spending.

Steve Williams, the mayor of Huntington, West Virginia, said in a conference call announcing the funding thatopioid abuse is so common he carries an overdose reversal kit with him. He says federal funding is urgently needed so people seeking treatment don’t have to wait months.

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