HHS funnels $94M into the fight against opioid abuse

With an estimated 289,000 heroin users nationwide and unintentional overdoses from prescription pain medications nearly quadrupling between 1999 and 2013, opioid addiction has hit a fever pitch in the U.S.

To help combat this, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Friday $94 million in funds from the Affordable Care Act will be directed to 271 health centers across 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to improve and expand substance abuse services.

The added services will have a special focus on treating abuse and addiction to opioids in underserved populations. The awards will increase screenings for substance use disorders, increase access to treatment and provide training and educational resources to better prepare health professionals to prescribe potentially addictive medications.

"The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in U.S. today," Ms. Burwell said in the announcement. "Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment and integrating these services in health centers bolsters nationwide efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse, supports approximately 124,000 new patients accessing substance use treatment for recovery and helps save lives."


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