Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth to receive part of $9.7 million grant to fight opioid crisis

RICHMOND, Va. – The Commonwealth of Virginia has received a $9.76 million grant to help fight the opioid epidemic, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday.

The one-year grant comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant will help support prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in 18 Virginia communities, including Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 27: A kit of Naloxone, a heroin antidote that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is displayed at a press conference about a new community prevention program for heroin overdoses in which New York police officers will carry kits of Naloxone, on May 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

In 2016, more than 1,100 Virginians died from an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl. Virginia emergency departments reported more than 10,000 visits for opioid and heroin overdose treatment, and EMS workers reported more than 4,000 uses of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.

“We have seen the horrible toll that opioids have taken on our communities,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginia’s Medicaid program has done an excellent job of expanding the types of services it covers, but without Medicaid expansion, many individuals who could benefit from treatment are unable to afford it. These grant funds will help pay for the necessary medications as well as counseling and other support services that individuals need to successfully recover.”

The grant money will be used to purchase medication, support medical staff necessary to prescribe and oversee clinical treatment, and remove barriers to access, such as transportation.

Approximately $5 million of the grant money will be allocated to 18 locally-run community services boards in order to increase access to medication assisted treatment.

The remaining $4.7 million will be used to support opioid prevention services in an additional 14 communities and increase access to naloxone.

The 18 community services boards chosen as part of the grant’s original application are: