Administration sends states $1B in grants to battle opioids

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is awarding more than $1 billion in grants to help states confront the opioid epidemic, with most of the money going to expand access to treatment and recovery services.

Officials say more than $900 million comes from a grant program Congress approved this spring as part of a budget bill. Lawmakers are working on another bipartisan bill to address the opioid problem and hope to have final legislation to President Donald Trump by year’s end.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says his agency is following science in its response to the epidemic, stressing medication-assisted treatment strategies that have been shown to work.

Although opioid-related deaths are still high, Azar says there are signs of progress, such as a drop in prescriptions for opioid painkillers.