HHS Announces $1.5 Billion in Grant Funding to Help Opioid Addiction

On May 19, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), announced via a press release a State Opioid Response (SOR) granting funding opportunity that will provide approximately $1.5 billion to states and territories to help address opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. The SOR program and the recent announcement of the Tribal Opioid Response granting funding opportunity are key to President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy that was released last month and HHS’ Overdose Prevention Strategy.

The release states that “The SOR grant program provides formula funding to states and territories for increasing access to FDA-approved medications for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), and for supporting prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for OUD and other concurrent substance use disorders (SUD). The SOR program also supports care for stimulant misuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine. The SOR program helps reduce overdose deaths and close the gap in treatment needs across America by giving states and territories flexibility in funding evidence-based practices and supports across different settings to meet local community needs.”

That said, “The SOR program provides states and territories with the funding to develop systems and networks of care that save and improve lives of individuals, families, and communities devastated by the overdose crisis. Overdose deaths have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than 105,000 people died from overdose in the 12 months ending in October 2021, the highest number ever recorded in a 12-month period . In addition to implementing service delivery models that enable the full spectrum of treatment and recovery support services as well as prevention, education, and harm reduction services, states and territories will be asked to develop naloxone distribution and saturation plans that will increase availably and accessibility of this lifesaving overdose-reversal medication.”

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was quoted in the release saying that “The State Opioid Response grant program delivers crucial aid to states and territories to help address in the crisis of overdose and death in our nation’s communities. And, in line with HHS’ Overdose Prevention Strategy, this funding helps facilitate state- and territory-level efforts to ensure the full continuum of prevention, harm reduction, treatment and long-term recovery supports are in place and accessible to all who need them .”

The funding for the SOR grant totals $1,439,500,000 for FY 2022 to 59 states and territories. The funding also includes an amount that is set aside for the states with the highest OUD-related mortality rates.

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