HHS Announces State Grants to Combat Opioid Crisis

On Wednesday, April 19, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, announced that the Department will administer grants totaling $485 million to all 50 states to help combat opioid addiction.  The funding is the first of two rounds provided for the opioid crisis in the 21st Century Cures Act (PL 114-255), which will be provided through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in HHS.  

Funding will support a comprehensive array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services depending on the needs of recipients. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, four US territories, and the free associated states of Palau and Micronesia, were awarded funds based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.

Secretary Price committed to continue working with governors to combat the evolving opioid crisis and to ensure federal funding supports clinically sound, effective, and efficient programs.  However, Secretary Price did state that while HHS is releasing the funding for the first year immediately, the Department’s intention for the second year is to develop funding allocations and policies that are the most clinically sound, effective, and efficient.  He pledged that HHS will work with states and territories to identify best practices, lessons learned, and key strategies that produce measureable results. 

The Secretary also discussed President Donald J. Trump’s recent Executive Order establishing a Commission on combating drug addiction and the opioid crisis.  He expects that HHS will work closely with the Commission to study the scope and effectiveness of the federal response to this crisis and provide recommendations to the President for improving it.

Up to this point, HHS has prioritized five specific strategies: strengthening public health surveillance, advancing the practice of pain management, improving access to treatment and recovery services, targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs, and supporting cutting-edge research.

The breakdown of first-year funding by states and territories is available online.