Congressman Brian Higgins announced approval of the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 2379). The bipartisan legislation provides $1.75 billion each year from 2022 through 2027 to help states and tribes prevent and reduce substance abuse. The annual allocation represents an increase over the $1.5 billion provided for 2021.
“The stress and isolation of the pandemic have served to exacerbate the opioid abuse epidemic in Western New York and communities across the country,” Higgins said. “This bill provides dedicated resources for the next six years to help individuals and families dealing with the grips of addiction, and ultimately save lives.”
A datasheet from the National Institutes of Health points out, “In Erie County, New York, 85 people died from overdoses during the first four months of 2020; up 100%” from the same period in 2019.
Under the program, each state would receive a minimum of $4 million in formula-based funding, with additional resources allocated to communities with the greatest need. Grants can be used for substance abuse prevention activities, prescription drug monitoring programs, training for health care providers, medication-assisted treatment, outpatient and residential treatment programs, recovery support and other public health activities aimed at addressing substance use disorders.
A press release stated, “Data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) demonstrate that state opioid response grants are helping to serve a growing number of clients who are seeing better outcomes thanks to the interventions supported through the grants. When compared to their status at intake, six months following treatment there was a 31% increase in clients with stable housing, a 46% increase in those fully abstaining from alcohol and drug use, and close to a 55% increase in people who are either employed or enrolled in school.”
Higgins recently joined New York State Attorney General Letitia James to announce additional resources to tackle substance abuse. A successful settlement in a lawsuit against manufacturers responsible for the opioid crisis will deliver $1.5 billion to communities across New York, including up to $33 million for Erie and Niagara counties.
The press release added, “If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 or visit FindTreatment.gov.”