New grant to fight opioid epidemic

Local News
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Governor Wolf announced Thursday how a major grant will be used to help fight the opioid epidemic.

The more than $55 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant was awarded last week. It’ll be split up among several initiatives including prevention, treatment, recovery, education and training.

A big focus will be on housing supports and assistance, criminal justice and law enforcement and reentry support and prevention.

Led by the Department of Human Services (DHS), and 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.

An additional $2 million of the grant will go toward funding to develop people-centered Health Homes to provide extensive physical and behavioral health care to pregnant women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). These Health Homes will improve access to high-quality care for pregnant women living with OUD.

“As we treat a person’s substance use disorder, we need to think broadly about what barriers to recovery may be,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “Access to safe, reliable housing is an important part of living a healthy life. The Health Homes will ensure that pregnant women have a safe and stable home that allows them to focus on their recovery and their baby’s needs.”

The funding will allow the Department of Corrections to greatly increase 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.

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