The bill includes $1.5 billion for state opioid response grants, which provide flexible funding for states to implement programs that best fit their needs. It also includes $130 million in targeted funding for rural areas, which often lack the same access to healthcare and support services found in urban or suburban areas.
Making sure people who are struggling with addiction can access effective treatment—including mental health services—is also essential to effectively addressing the opioid epidemic. To that end, the bill includes a $50 million increase for certified community behavioral health clinics. If people are addressing their behavioral health issues, they are feeling better and sleeping better and are more likely to take the medications needed for other conditions. I think we will find that, as a result, expanding access to behavioral health won't just allow us to make more headway in addressing the opioid epidemic, it will also dramatically reduce the amount of money spent treating other health concerns.
Stemming the number of individuals who become addicted in the first place is another top priority reflected in this bill. That includes improving surveillance to gain a better understanding of where the problems are and where they are most severe, and ensuring the public understands the risks of taking opioids. The bill provides $476 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for opioid overdose prevention and surveillance, as well as a public awareness campaign.
The bill also addresses the needs of infants, children and youth who have been affected by the opioid crisis. It provides $60 million to help states develop and implement plans of safe care for infants exposed to opioids at birth, and includes $40 million for prevention and treatment activities for children and families in, or at-risk of entering, the foster-care system.
Finally, simply reducing opioid prescriptions does not address the core problem—effective pain management. If patients with acute or chronic pain do not have reasonable access to non-addictive pain medications or alternative treatments, it will be difficult to solve this crisis. The bill provides $500 million for research related to opioid addiction, pain management and addiction treatment as well as developing opioid alternatives.
The opioid epidemic has touched people of all ages, from every background, in communities across the nation. I'll continue working with my colleagues to ensure we're putting the right amount of resources in the right places to end this public health crisis.