Virginia awarded over $22 million to fight opioid crisis

WASHINGTON — The federal government has awarded Virginia $22,159,494 to combat the opioid crisis impacting many states across America.

The money granted to Virginia is part of over $1 billion allocated to all states by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The awards, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was launched in 2017 and enhanced this week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Addressing the opioid crisis with all the resources possible and the best science we have is a top priority for President Donald Trump and for everyone at HHS,” said Secretary Alex Azar. “The more than $1 billion in additional funding that we provided this week will build on progress we have seen in tackling this epidemic through empowering communities and families on the front lines.”

The money available to Virginia was broken up into two different awards granted — a SAMHSA award of $15,809,989 and an HRSA award of $6,349,505.

The SAMHSA award will go toward increasing access to medication-assisted treatment using the three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder. The HRSA award will enable 25 HRSA-funded community health centers and or, academic institutions, and rural organizations in Virginia expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.

“This week, HHS updated its strategic framework for tackling the opioid crisis, which uses science as a foundation for our comprehensive strategy,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health and Senior Advisor for Opioid Policy. “With these new funds, states, tribes, and communities across America will be able to advance our strategy and continue making progress against this crisis.”

Data from SAMHSA in the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found Americans initiating heroin use dropped by about half from 2016 to 2017.

The number of Americans misusing opioids also dropped for the second year in a row, a strong indication of encouraging progress in the fight against the opioid epidemic, according to HHS. The federal agency also says from January 2017 through August 2018, the number of opioids prescribed in America dropped by 21 percent.

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