WASHINGTON (AP) Alarmed by a deadly new twist in the nations drug addiction crisis, the government will allow states to use federal money earmarked for the opioid epidemic to help growing numbers of people struggling with meth and cocaine.
The little-noticed change is buried in a massive spending bill passed by Congress late last year. Pressed by constituents and state officials, lawmakers of both parties and the Trump administration agreed to broaden the scope of a $1.5 billion grant program previously restricted to the opioid crisis. Starting this year states can also use those federal dollars to counter addiction to stimulants, a term the government uses for methamphetamine and cocaine.
Meth and cocaine are making a comeback and they are more potent than they were during the last wave, said Mark Stringer, director of Missouris Department of Mental Health. He oversees the states efforts to prevent addiction, get drug-dependent people into treatment, and support them in recovery. Where meth is much more prevalent than opioids, this will be a game-changer.