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PA Receives $55.9 Million in Federal Funds to Continue Fight Opioid Epidemic

September 28, 2018

Last week, Pennsylvania secured $55.9 million federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant implementation the state’s response to the opioid epidemic. This funding complements two $26.5 million grants that have been received during the past two years from SAMHSA as part of the 21st Century CURES Act. With the new SAMHSA grant, Pennsylvania has received a total of $108 million in federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic.

The planned initiatives funded through this grant focus on three overarching “buckets”—housing supports and assistance, criminal justice, and law enforcement initiatives with a focus on reentrant supports and prevention, and workforce development strategies. The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), along with Governor Wolf’s office, led the application effort with multiple state agencies now charged with implementing and tracking each initiative.

Opioid housing initiative: Led by the Department of Human Services in partnership with the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency, the opioid housing initiative will:

  • Direct $15 million for pre-tenancy and tenancy supports and rental assistance for individuals with opioid use disorder in need of supportive housing
  • Prioritize an additional $2 million in funding to develop person-centered health homes to provide comprehensive physical and behavioral health care to pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD)

Criminal justice programs and law enforcement initiatives with a focus on re-entry supports and prevention: The grant funding will allow the Department of Corrections to significantly expand access to all three FDA-approved medication-assisted treatments (MATs) to re-entrants and support the agency’s efforts to hire an in-house addiction medicine specialist. In addition, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will use its Overdose Information Network (ODIN) to identify areas of the state most severely affected by drug trafficking and use grant funding to increase community policing in those areas. PSP also will utilize grant dollars to increase awareness of and access to treatment for individuals with OUD and their loved ones.

Workforce development: The Department of Health will the establishment of a Pennsylvania OUD Loan Repayment Program to provide loan repayment for eligible health care practitioners who work in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and specialize in treating individuals with OUD and increase access to treatment and recovery supports through Pennsylvanian’s 47 Single County Authorities (SCAs).The grant will also support the development of regional programs focusing on the education, prevention, or identification of OUD for Pennsylvania veterans, their families or caregivers and the identification of resources available for referral for treatment.

For more information on the Wolf Administration’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, visit governor.pa.gov.

For information about HAP’s clinical work and regulatory advocacy around the opioid crisis, contact Michael Consuelos, MD, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration and Jennifer Jordan, HAP’s vice president, regulatory advocacy.

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