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National Health Bill Could Allocate Funds to Addiction Treatment - KOAM TV 7

National Health Bill Could Allocate Funds to Addiction Treatment

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

President Obama is calling on the senate to support the 21st Century Cures Act, a health bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House. The bill would provide federal resources for addiction treatment programs as more and more people battle opioid addiction.
April Harper wishes her son reached out for help sooner. Mikey Armstrong died of an opioid overdose when he was 21, having battled addiction for 10 years. Harper says a lack of available beds in recovery programs made getting her son into treatment difficult.
“There’s a waiting list for so many and while they're waiting a lot of things can happen in that time,” says Harper.
The 21st Century Cures Act would allocate $1 billion over 2 years to support state efforts in fighting the prescription opioid addiction crisis. That money could help local treatment centers better serve the community.
“For the ones of us that have already lost a loved one its devastating we couldn't get this soon but it’s also overwhelming to know that there’s a chance of some availability for the addict,” says Harper who also works with addicts at the Christ Church of Oronogo.
Teddy Steen, Executive Director of the recovery program Ascent, hopes the money will go toward treatment methods that are long term.
“Getting the drugs and alcohol out is just the symptom of the problem that is not the problem. It’s a thought process problem, it’s a coping skill problem, it’s a communication problem and I think if we would work on that more, that’s more the key and the answer,” says Steen.
A state group dedicated to helping addicts says more treatment and funding is needed in Missouri but this bill is not the answer.
“It’s nothing. It’s $1 billion over 2 years so $500 million a year, lets divide that by the number of people in the United States who suffer from a substance abuse disorder which is roughly 20 million, you're talking $25 a person,” says Chad Sabora with the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery.
All can agree something must be done to keep families from experiencing the pain that Harper has
“He had this thing for wanting to make people laugh all the time he was a loving kid. I miss him, I miss his smile every day, I miss him calling just to say I love you,” says Harper.

The senate will vote on the bill this coming week. It would also speed up the FDA's approval of new drugs and medical devices and invest $4.8 billion in medical research, mostly cancer. 
 

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