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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

SAMHSA Releases Opioid Crisis Grant Applications

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Congress’ investment of $500 million for opioid addiction services is now available for states to access through a grant application with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). State agencies will have until February 17 to submit an application to SAMHSA detailing how they will use the funds to support current state efforts to combat opioid abuseWhile providers cannot apply for the funds directly, they should engage with their state officials to discuss addiction services that could be strengthened in their community.

DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDING

In each state, the Single State Agency (SSA) responsible for substance use services is eligible to apply for a designated portion of the total $500 million appropriation. The grants, entitled State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants or Opioid STR, will be awarded to the agencies who then can contract with community treatment providers and other organizations to carry out grant activities.

Importantly, states will not need to compete for these funds. The funds will be distributed to the states based upon a formula that considers the unmet need for opioid use disorder treatment and drug poisoning deaths in each state. Find out what award amount your state or territory is eligible for in Appendix E (pg.35) of the Funding Opportunity Announcement here.

While states have until February 17th to submit their application, there is no public timeline on when funds will be awarded.

REQUIRED ACTIVITIES

  • Develop a statewide needs assessment using epidemiological data.
  • Develop a comprehensive state strategic plan to address the gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery identified in the needs assessment.
  • Design, implement, enhance, and evaluate primary and secondary prevention using evidence-based methods defined by SAMHSA or CDC proven to reduce the number of persons with opioid use disorders (OUDs) and OUD associated deaths.
  • Implement or expand access to clinically appropriate evidence-based practices (EBPs) for OUD treatment, particularly, the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in combination with psychosocial interventions.
  • Provide assistance to patients with treatment costs and develop other strategies to eliminate or reduce treatment costs for under- and uninsured patients.
  • Provide treatment transition and coverage for patients reentering communities from criminal justice settings or other rehabilitative settings.
  • Enhance or support the provision of peer and other recovery support services designed to improve treatment access and retention and support long-term recovery.

Notably, the funds are to be used to supplement, not supplant, current state efforts to combat opioid abuse. Additional allowable activities cover a wide variety including: strengthening prescription drug monitoring program (PMDPs), enhancing naloxone distribution and training, training opioid use disorder prevention and treatment professionals, expanding the use of telehealth,  and establishing/expanding community-based recovery support systems. For a complete list of allowable uses see Section 1 (pgs. 4-11) of the funding announcement.

ENGAGE WITH YOUR STATE AGENCY

SAMHSA’s announcement signals an important advocacy opportunity for providers to influence how the new federal opioid funds are spent. As states develop their grant applications between now and February 17, providers should engage with their state’s Single State Agency about what addiction services and supports should be bolstered in their community.