White House promotes initiatives for Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week: 5 notes

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The White House recently released a fact sheet of federal efforts addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic. These health initiatives are being promoted as part of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, Sept. 18-24, which President Barack Obama announced last Friday.

Here's what you need to know:

1. Mr. Obama called on Congress to provide $1.1 billion to expand access to opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs. These programs include increasing access to naloxone and directing more addicts to treatment, rather than jail.

2. The FDA launched the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, a public contest encouraging individuals to develop low-cost apps to help first responders identify and react to an opioid overdose.

3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $4.7 million into grants that will allow rural communities to use communications technology to expand access to healthcare resources, including substance use treatment.

4. The Obama administration is working with the Chinese government to reduce the supply of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, that drug traffickers are bringing into the United States.

5. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced its 12th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, slated for Oct. 22. This annual initiative provides safe methods for disposing of unneeded prescription drugs, while also educating the public on medication abuse.

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