Connecticut among 44 states receiving federal money addressing opioid epidemic

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that Connecticut is among 44 states receiving a portion of $53 million in funding for programs seeking to improve access to opioid use treatment.

According to a release from HHS, 44 states will receive a combined $53 million in funding to improve access to treatment for opioid use disorders and address drug misuse prevention efforts. Four tribes and the District of Columbia will also receive funding.

The funding also seeks to reduce opioid related deaths. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto said in the release that the epidemic of opioid use disorders has had a devastating impact on families and communities across the country.

SAMHSA has provided $49 million in total mental health and substance use funding for Connecticut during the 2015-16 fiscal years, according to its website.

“These grants will help address the key elements of the opioid crisis by promoting effective prevention efforts, preventing overdose deaths and helping ensure that people with opioid use disorders are able to receive vital treatment and recovery support services,” Enomoto said.

Connecticut will receive funding for two of the six programs funded by the grants. This includes $11 million allocated to 11 states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment services.

The 11 states were targeted after they were, “identified as having the highest rates of primary treatment admissions for heroin and prescription opioids per capita, and prioritizes those states with the most dramatic recent increases for heroin and opioids,” according to HHS.

Connecticut is also among 20 other states and four tribes receiving $9 million to strengthen drug misuse prevention efforts. HHS officials said these states completed a Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant to target drug misuses. This program raises awareness about the dangers of sharing medication.

The funding will be administered by SAMHSA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the release said. The funding announced Wednesday is part of the HHS Opioid Initiative launched in March 2015.

“States can use these funds to develop, implement, and evaluate programs that save lives,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.

Esteban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register 

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