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HHS funds states’ fight against opioids

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price turned the spotlight on the opioid crisis as he announced HHS would distribute grants totaling $485 million to all 50 states to combat opioid addiction.

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The funding is intended to support a comprehensive array of evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery services and has been awarded to states and territories based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet needs for opioid addiction treatment. California, for example, has been awarded $44.8 million.  Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming were each awarded $2 million.

The state-based grants are funded by the 21st Century Cures Act and will be distributed through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Price said in April 19 remarks at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. HHS will also be making grants this year to state and local governments and community organizations under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, he said.

The grant funding will be used for improving access to treatment and recovery services, promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs and advancing better practices for pain management.

“With these grants, we want to promote evidence-based policies and best practices,” Price said. “But we also recognize that states know best what their communities need, and that they have already been at the forefront of supporting prevention, treatment and recovery.

Price also highlighted federal initiatives that have been marshaled for the opioid fight, such as the Data-Driven Prevention Initiative and Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance Program.  Those efforts are both run out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and aim to help states improve data collection and analysis around opioid misuse, abuse and overdose.

HHS also is working with Customs and Border Protection to alert local public health authorities when it intercepts shipments of fentanyl that are headed for a particular city, Price said.

The funding comes less than a month after President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which will be headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

A breakdown of first-year funding by states and territories is available here.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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