Budget Deal Passes Congress, Increases Funding for SAMHSA, NIH
Over the weekend, Congress reached a $ 1.1 trillion omnibus budget deal that will fund the government through the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Contrary to President Trump’s proposed budget, funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to increase and the legislation adds more money for efforts to combat opioid addiction. The measure was passed quickly this week by both the House and Senate in order to meet federal government’s May 5 funding deadline.
Under Congress’ budget plan, SAMHSA will have a budget of $3.6 billion, which is $150 million more than the agency’s last year allocation. Correspondingly, important mental health and addiction programs will see increased or level funding including:
- The Community Mental Health Block Grant (MHBG) is increased by $30 million. The Trump Administration had previously proposed to cut the MHBG by $100 million.
- The Substance Abuse and Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SAPT) receives level funding at $1.86 billion.
- The Primary & Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) program receives level funding at $49.87 million. This program supports community behavioral health and primary care organizations that partner to provide essential primary care services to adults with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
- The Primary & Behavioral Health Care Integration Technical Assistance is level funded at $1.99 million dollars. The technical assistance center, known as the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS), is essential to the success of PBHCI initiative.
- The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program also receives level funding at $14.96 million.Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a public education program that helps participants identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use.
The omnibus budget package bolsters resources for addressing the nationwide opioid addiction crisis. The bill fully funds the grant programs authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and adds $150 million to the $500 million in opioid funding authorized by the 21st Century Act. Further, the bill provides a $50 million increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid abuse programs and a $51 million increase to SAMHSA for treatment and overdose reversal.
The National Institutes of Health saw an increase in funding for the remainder of the year despite a request from President Trump to cut funding from the nation’s largest medical research agency. This $2 billion increase includes:
- $40.3 million to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- $83.3 million to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH)
- $15.7 million to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA)