HHS announces they will provide $485 million in grants to all 50 states. These grants are provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act passed in December and represents the first of two rounds of grants. The grants are provided through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The first year of funding is being released quickly, whereas the letter from Secretary Price announcing this funding indicates that “my intention for the second year is to develop funding allocations and policies that are the most clinically sound, effective and efficient.”
The grants are to support an array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services. These grants are intended to include flexibility to allow the services to meet the unique needs of those needing services. The funding is allocated to the States and territories based on the rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment, a welcomed allocation based on the disproportionate impact of the opioid crisis on rural America and the lack of treatment resources in far too many rural communities hit hardest by this crisis.
HHS has identified five specific priority strategies: strengthening public health surveillance, advancing the practice of pain management, improving access to treatment and recovery services, targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs, and supporting cutting-edge research.
NRHA applauds these grants and the flexibility within the program to meet the needs of the unique communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. NRHA looks forward to working with HHS in future funding to ensure these funds are targeted to the rural communities most impacted by the opioid epidemic.