Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded over $1 billion in opioid-specific grants to help combat the crisis ravaging our country. The awards support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was launched last year and enhanced this week. New data unveiled recently by HHS suggests that efforts are now yielding progress at the national level.
“Addressing the opioid crisis with all the resources possible and the best science we have is a top priority for President 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 frontlines.”
“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.”
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found that the number of Americans initiating heroin use dropped by around half from 2016 to 2017. The number of Americans misusing opioids also dropped for the second year in a row, and the number receiving specialty treatment for heroin use increased.
From January 2017 through August 2018, the amount of opioids prescribed in America has dropped by 21 percent. In the same time, the number of prescriptions filled for naloxone has increased 264 percent, while the number of prescriptions for buprenorphine, one form of medication-assisted treatment, has risen 16 percent (data from IQVIA’s Total Patient Tracker).
The Trump Administration will continue working to make progress against the opioid crisis, which in 2017 claimed more than 130 lives per day.
This week’s major grant announcements, most of them made possible by funding secured from Congress by President Trump in March 2018, are as follows:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SAMHSA awarded more than $930 million in State Opioid Response grants to support a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic and expand access to treatment and recovery support services.
The grants aim to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment using the three Food and Drug Administration (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.
States received funding based on a formula, with a 15 percent set-aside for the ten states with the highest mortality rate related to drug overdose deaths. Other funding provided through this program, including $50 million for tribal communities, will be awarded separately.
In addition, SAMHSA also awarded about $90 million to other programming for states and communities to expand access to medication-assisted treatment, increase distribution and use of overdose reversal drugs, and increase workforce development activities.
To learn more about SAMHSA-supported resources, please visit SAMHSA’s Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse page.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
HRSA awarded over $396 million to combat the opioid crisis. The investments will enable HRSA-funded community health centers, academic institutions, and rural organizations to expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.
- $352 million awarded to increase access to substance use disorder and mental health services through the Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services to 1,232 community health centers across the nation.
- $18.5 million to support Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training and Enhancing Behavioral Health Workforce awards.
- $25.5 million to over 120 rural organizations to increase access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services serving rural populations across the country. This includes:
- $19 million awarded to 95 organizations under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning.
- Nearly $6.5 million to 26 rural organizations to expand the reach of the Rural Health Opioid Program.
To learn about HRSA-supported resources, please visit HRSA’s Opioid Crisis page.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC awarded $155.5 million to increase support for states and territories working to prevent opioid-related overdoses, deaths, and other outcomes. This funding will advance the understanding of the opioid overdose epidemic and scale-up prevention and response activities, including improving the timeliness and quality of surveillance data.
In addition, CDC awarded $12 million in funds to support 11 Tribal Epidemiology Centers and 15 tribal entities. These funds will improve opioid overdose surveillance so that prevention strategies can be targeted to better address this threat to tribal communities.
CDC is also distributing an additional $27 million to nine non-governmental organizations, which will support states and territories with staffing, procurement, and training to enhance local public health capacity.