HHS Awards $94M To Tackle Opioid, Heroine Abuse

March 16, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe never-ending war on drugs may always be with us, but the federal government took a big step last week to tackle the issue. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided $94 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 271 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to expand the delivery of substance abuse services, specifically focusing on the treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.

HHS officials anticipate that about 289,000 individuals in the U.S. were current heroin users, and that 4.5 million people are users of non-medical prescription pain relievers. The agency also estimated that the number of unintentional overdose deaths related to heroin increased 39 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Administered by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration, these awards will increase the number of patients screened for substance use disorders and connected to treatment, increase the number of patients with access to substance use disorder treatment, and provide training and educational resources to help health professionals make informed prescribing decisions. “Health centers treat some of the most at-risk patients in the country,” said HRSA Acting Administrator Jim Macrae. “These awards position health centers to be at the forefront of the fight against opioid abuse in underserved communities.”

HHS officials said that addressing the opioid crisis is a top priority, and these awards can go a long way to helping treat these individuals. Illegal drugs ruin many lives, so efforts such as this are commendable. Hopefully these funds prove effective in providing treatment and can make a dent in the national problem.

Let us know how you feel about this program and if you think it will be effective.

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