Tom Price rolls out $485M in grants to combat opioid epidemic

The federal government will provide $485 million in grants to fund evidence-based prevention and treatment initiatives to address the nation's opioid abuse crisis, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, said this week.

The funds were contained in the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed under the Obama administration in December 2016. The $485 million in grants will compliment funds slated to be made available this year under Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed by Former President Barack Obama in July 2016.

"With these grants, we want to promote evidence-based policies and best practices. But we also recognize that states know best what their communities need, and that they have already been at the forefront of supporting prevention, treatment and recovery," said Dr. Price, during the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, "That's why these grants are targeted at a wide range of activities beyond typical treatment and prevention programs, such as training for health professionals, technological investments and support for prescription drug monitoring programs."

The recently announced funds will be followed next year by another half-billion dollar commitment from the federal government, according to Dr. Price. The funds for 2018 will be based upon an HHS assessment regarding where the funds can be the most successful.

"As part of that assessment process, I plan to travel the country to talk with state, local and community leaders, as well as treatment and recovery specialists and medical providers," said Dr. Price. "The findings from these visits will also inform the work we do hand-in-hand with the president's commission, led by Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J."

Dr. Price said HHS's top five priorities in addressing the opioid epidemic are:

• Expanding access to treatment and recovery services
• Supporting the use of opioid overdose reversal drugs
• Improving public health surveillance to increase understanding of the epidemic
• Supporting research on pain and addiction
• Advancing best practices for safe and effective pain management

More articles on opioids: 
New Jersey sheriff creates mobile drug intervention unit to address opioid crisis 
Sen. Schumer advocates for bill to fight black market fentanyl importation 
Florida governor and attorney general back legislation to curb opioid abuse

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