HHS Awards $1.6 Billion to Address the Addiction and Overdose Crises

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), allocates more than $1.6 billion in community investments, according to a Sept. 23 news release to cope with addiction and overdose crises.

The press release states: “The investments made through SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response (SOR) and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) grant programs and HRSA’s Rural Community Opioid Response programs will help communities meet all use the tools at their disposal – from prevention to harm reduction, treatment and recovery support for people in need. In President Biden’s first State of the Union address, he named tackling the opioid crisis and the overdose epidemic one of his administration’s top priorities, and earlier this year released his National Drug Control Strategy to expand access to addiction and overdose treatment and to curb drug trafficking prevent .”

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In addition, “the programs reflect President Biden’s priorities in strategy and HHS’s commitment to address opioid and stimulant abuse across the country, including in tribal communities.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, a more than 15 percent increase from 2020.”

The investments include four types of state and local government funding, including:

  • SAMHSA’s SOR Grants Program: SOR provides formula funding to states and territories to expand access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) and to support prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and others concurrently Substance Use Disorders (SUD).
  • SAMHSA’s TOR Grants Program: TOR addresses the overdose crisis in tribal communities by increasing access to FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of opioid abuse and providing prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services for opioid and stimulant abuse and co-occurring supports mental and substance use conditions.
  • SOR/TOR Technical Assistance for State Education and Training: A national network of consultants provides free educational resources and training to states, communities, and individuals in the prevention, mitigation, treatment, and recovery of OUDs and SUDs.
  • HRSA’s Opioid Response Program for Rural Communities: HHS’s HRSA has announced investments to expand substance use treatment and prevention services, including medication for OUD, in rural communities nationwide as part of its Opioid Response Program for Rural Communities.
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The press release adds that “HRSA’s announcement highlights funding through the following three programs:

  • The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Medication Assisted Treatment Access awarded over $10 million to establish new drug-assisted treatment access points for substance use disorders, including OUD, in rural communities. The program will break down barriers to evidence-based treatment in underserved rural areas.
  • The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Implementation awarded $65 million to strengthen and expand OUD prevention, treatment and recovery services in rural communities through staff development and training, behavioral health care and support services.
  • The Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Behavioral Health Care Support awarded $29 million to improve the quality and sustainability of behavioral health services in rural communities, including through evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment of substance use. The program works to improve rural populations’ access to quality, integrated behavioral health services.”
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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was quoted in the press release as saying, “Access to evidence-based, person-centered care is a core component of HHS’s strategy to end the overdose crisis. I have heard many desperate stories from people battling addiction and families who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses. Through these grants, we invest in evidence-based support and services for individuals, families and communities on the road to recovery. Through these grants, we are investing in hope.”

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