Pennsylvania To Receive Major Funding For Addiction Recovery Treatment
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration recently announces it will grant $485 million to all states to help battle the opioid crisis and further efforts for addiction recovery. Pennsylvania is set to receive the fourth largest amount.
Funds will be provided through the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation which passed at the end of 2015. The grants will be dispersed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
A variety of factors were involved in determining the amount of state fund distribution. According to Addiction Now, Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine, M.D. Attributed Pennsylvania’s significant funding to a high-quality proposal, in addition to a raging opioid epidemic that she called “the biggest public health care crisis in Pennsylvania right now.”
Also, Pennsylvania was among several states that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified as experiencing a statistically significant rise in drug overdose death rates from 2014-2015.
Last year, the state employed a few different strategies to fight addiction and overdose, such as allowing the non-prescription use of naloxone (an anti-overdose drug) and working toward implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program, intended to curb doctor-shopping.
Levine says that some funds will be allocated toward expanding programs such prescription monitoring and improving the availability of addiction recovery treatment, including efforts to coordinate medication-assisted recovery programs.
Some of the grant money will be aimed at furthering the propagation of prescriber guidelines for opioids, as well as strategies for assisting patients in obtaining addiction recovery treatment through referrals, such as after an overdose. This is referred to as a “warm handoff.”
“When a person has a heart attack, they aren’t given a card and released,” she said. “They’re seen by a cardiologist and receive extended treatment. With addiction, we want the same thing: a very robust effort to get the person to the substance abuse treatment they need.”
Finally, Levin firmly believes that the stigma surrounding addiction must be demolished:
“It’s very important to understand that addiction is a medical condition; this is a disease, not a moral failing. We must get past the stigma that this is somehow a moral failing.”
G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology