The Trump administration is making a big push to encourage Canadian bingo companies to open their doors to addicts.
In addition to the $10 billion in government funds earmarked for drug treatment, the administration wants to expand the number of bingo rooms to include those serving opioid users, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already made a grant request to four bingo centers that are located in Canada and New Zealand, according to the AP.
“We have a lot of great people here in Canada.
But it’s not a priority to try to treat people in a drug-addicted environment,” Trump’s new chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“So I think we need to work with them to try and get the beds open.”
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, Canadians spent $3.2 billion on opioid overdoses in 2016, according the most recent year for which data is available.
Many of those deaths are attributed to opioids, which are made from morphine, codeine and codeine hydrochloride.
During the 2016-2017 opioid crisis, more than 3,500 Canadians died from the drug, according a study by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Trump has been a vocal proponent of opioid-related treatment programs in the United States.
A bill he co-sponsored with Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, was passed by Congress in January and would allow doctors to prescribe painkillers for addiction to treat opioid-addiction, depression and other health problems.
Bills introduced in the House and Senate have been unsuccessful, however, and it remains unclear whether the Trump administration would be willing to open the doors to bingo addicts in Canada, the AP reported.
While some states have introduced similar legislation, many of them are located outside the United State.
According the AP, the United Kingdom is the only country in the world that has not expanded the number, or expanded the scope of, the opioid treatment programs.