Pennsylvania receives $5.7 million federal grant to assist fight against opioid epidemic

Governor Tom Wolf

HARRISBURG — Governor Tom Wolf today announced in a press release that Pennsylvania, through its Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, has been awarded a $5.7 million Medication-Assisted Treatment Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help in the state’s ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic.

The grant, a funding opportunity made available by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will help the state expand or enhance its access to evidence-based medically assisted treatment services.

“The misuse of prescription pain relievers containing opioids and the use of illicit drugs such as heroin have created an ongoing and pervasive epidemic in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Wolf said in the announcement. “We are working every day in Pennsylvania to get people suffering from substance abuse disorder the treatment they need. This grant will go a long way to help in those sustained efforts.”

Overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drug abuse pose a public health crisis. In 2016, 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths were reported in Pennsylvania — an increase of 37 percent from 2015 — and every day 13 Pennsylvanians die of a drug overdose.

 

The grant will be administered jointly by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs through UPMC and will follow a “hub-and-spoke” model of service delivery, focusing on Allegheny County as the hub and Blair, Erie, and Lycoming counties as the spokes.

“While the initial program focuses on western Pennsylvania, our goal is to expand access to this coordinated medication-assisted treatment model for patients suffering from the disease of opioid addiction throughout the state,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Acting Health Secretary and Physician General.