President Donald Trump has pledged to donate his third quarter presidential salary to fighting the opioid crisis in the US.
That is about $100,000 of his $400,000 salary, which is pennies compared to the estimated $500 billion a year the epidemic costs the government in medical care and law enforcement.
The president’s pledge comes amid the deadliest drug epidemic in US history that killed 64,000 Americans last year.
Stat News calculated just how far the president’s donation can go.
Acting Health Secretary Eric Hargan accepted the $100,000 check from the president on Thursday.
Hargan said the money will go toward a ‘large-scale public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction.’
Trump announced the ad campaign in October, the same time he declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.
He has been adamant on prevention on the past. Trump has said: ‘The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don’t start, they won’t have a problem. If they do start, it’s awfully tough to get off.’
The president previously donated salary in the amounts of $78,333 and $100,000 to the National Park Service and the Education Department.
But there is an issue in funding to the Department of Health and Human Services that will be running the campaign.
Trump declined to use the Stafford act, which would allow the federal government to tap into funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to combat opioids.
Under the Public Health Services Act designation, no additional federal funding will automatically be directed to the crisis.
And the 2018 budget calls for reducing funding for the opioid epidemic by $97million compared, said Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Between 2000 and 2015, US deaths from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, rose by 1,125 percent.
In the same 15 years, deaths from all opioids rose by 294 percent.
Overall drug overdose deaths in the US reached more than 64,000 last year – killing more people than gun violence or car crashes.
This is up from 52,000 deaths in 2015, more than half of which were related to opioids.
Here is what the $100,000 pledge can buy to combat the growing epidemic:
Naloxone, marketed under the name Narcan, is the auto-injector used to revive those who have overdosed.
It is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. The drug does so by binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of the drug on the body.
It can quickly restore regular respiration to a person who has stopped breathing due to a heroin or opioid overdose.
Kaleo, the pharmaceutical company that makes the medication, sells the product as a two-pack for $4,500.
The naloxone nasal spray is a prescription medicine meant to have the same affect as the auto-injector on opioid users who overdose.
The spray is to be used in emergency situations and is safe and effective in children for known or suspected opioid overdose
But the signs and symptoms of an overdose can return after the spray is administered.
The price of Narcan nasal spray is $135.
Vivitrol is a non-addictive, monthly injectable drug of extended-release naltrexone which can help prevent relapses into alcohol or drug abuse.
It is meant to be taken at least one to two weeks after detoxing from opioids to avoid sudden withdrawal.
It costs cost about $1,000 per shot.
Methadone can treat moderate to severe pain as well as narcotic drug addiction.
It works on parts of the brain and spinal cord to block the high caused by using opiates
Methadone is to be taken once a day to ease opiate withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours, decreasing the chance of relapse.
The average cost of methadone per patient for a full year is $4,700.
A sterile syringe can cost 97 cents, according to the Harm Reduction Coalition.
A needle and syringe exchange program is a social service that allows injecting drug users to obtain hypodermic needles and associated paraphernalia at little or no cost.
The program has been found to effectively reduce the spread of HIV among injecting drug users.
The salary is $199,700 for the health secretary as well as the the chair of the Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission.
On Wednesday it was announced that Kelleyanne Conway would be the czar of the opioid crisis.
Her duties will be to run the efforts at reducing the epidemic.
A four-hour training costs $50 per person to educate doctors on how to perform the evidence-based protocol called SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment).
The training is aimed at reducing and preventing the abuse of opioids.