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HHS, SAMHSA to maintain funding formula for $1B opioid grant program

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will maintain the Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grant funding allocation formula for the second year of the program. This program is a significant component of the Trump Administration’s efforts to combat the nation’s opioid crisis and is critical for achieving the President’s goals of supporting a comprehensive array of evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

Created by the 21st Century Cures Act, the Opioid STR grant program expands access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, reduces unmet treatment needs, and helps to prevent opioid overdose deaths. To ensure that the second year of funding meets the requirements of the program and the needs of individual states, HHS and SAMHSA have decided that the funding allocation formula will remain the same as the first year for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the free associated states.

The second year of funding will be allocated according to a formula that takes into account the needs of each jurisdiction, including the number of overdose deaths and people with an unmet need for treatment. Grantees will not need to re-apply for funding with a new application; rather, grantees must submit a noncompeting continuation application for the second year of funding. The first round of funding was issued earlier this year using the same formula. Many states requested that funding levels remain the same to ensure continuity of services to people needing treatment.

“The work done by our partners in the states and territories has been central to our efforts to combat the trend of opioid abuse and overdose,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “Together, we will continue our work to advance the behavioral health of the nation by swiftly and directly addressing this public health crisis through evidence-based practices and programs.”

In addition to awarding grants, SAMHSA is working with grantees to ensure that evidence-based practices are used throughout all states and territories. SAMHSA is also reviewing grantee strategic plans and expects to provide feedback to the states and territories on those plans in the near future. SAMHSA plans to provide additional technical assistance through a new funding opportunity, announced October 27th, which will capitalize on local clinical expertise to improve outcomes for people in treatment.

Under President Trump, in April 2017, HHS unveiled a new five-point Opioid Strategy. The Strategy prioritizes efforts in five areas: 1) Improving access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, including medication-assisted treatment; 2) Promoting the targeted availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs; 3) Strengthening public health data reporting and collection; 4) Supporting cutting-edge research on addiction and pain; and 5) Advancing the practice of pain management. In Fiscal Year 2017, HHS invested almost $900 million in opioid-specific funding, including funds to state and local governments as well as civil society groups—to support treatment and recovery services, target availability of overdose-reversing drugs, train first responders, and more.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to lead public health and service delivery efforts that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and provide treatments and supports to foster recovery while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes.

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