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HHS releases additional $487M to states, territories to expand access to effective opioid treatment

(Press Release) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS released an additional $487 million to supplement first-year funding through its State Opioid Response grant program. The awards to states and territories are part of HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy and the Trump administration’s tireless drive to combat the opioid crisis.

Together with the $933 million in second-year, continuation awards to be provided under this program later this year, the total amount of SOR grants to states and territories this year will total more than $1.4 billion.

HHS is awarding $130,500 to Northern Mariana Islands to support their ongoing work to connect residents to effective treatments.

This funding will expand access to treatment that works, especially to medication-assisted treatment or MAT with appropriate social supports.

“One year ago this week, President Trump launched his national opioid initiative, which called for expanding access to compassionate, evidence-based treatment, including MAT. This week’s funding awards to states were possible because of legislation Congress passed and President Trump signed since then,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Our strategy is beginning to produce results, thanks to so many Americans working on the ground, in their own communities, to turn the tide on this crisis.”

The State Opioid Response grants administered by HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA aim to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to MAT using the three Food and Drug Administration 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.

“Strategies such as employing psychosocial supports, community recovery services and MAT using medicines approved by the FDA constitute the gold standard of treatment for opioid use disorders,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use.

Last summer, SAMHSA announced the first year of SOR funding. States and territories received funding based on a formula, with a 15 percent set-aside for the 10 states with the highest mortality rates related to drug overdose deaths.

Other funding, including $50 million for tribal communities under the Tribal Opioid Response grant program, has been awarded separately. These programs are built from the foundations laid in the $1 billion provided to states and territories through SAMHSA’s Opioid State Targeted Response program. SAMHSA has complemented the work of the STR program with a national center of excellence that provides technical assistance and training to leverage local subject matter experts at the community level to sharpen treatment access and delivery.

SAMHSA also operates a 24/7, national Helpline that people can call to find treatment referral resources for mental health or substance use disorders: 800-662-HELP (4357). People can visit https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ to locate those resources, as well.

To learn more about SAMHSA-supported resources, visit SAMHSA’s Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse page.