Federal dollars are coming to the state to help combat the opioid epidemic.
The $43.5 million in funding coming to Illinois, which was announced earlier this week, was discussed during a visit Thursday from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan, and Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
The funding, which was part of $1 billion in opioid treatment funding, was released by the Department of Health and Human Services. The funding is for 1 year, but McCance-Katz said the department expects a second year of funding.
Illinois will get about $29 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to increase availability of addiction treatment using medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration and to reduce overdose-related deaths through prevention, treatment and recovery activities, according to reports. A $14.5 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant is slated to help 50 federally funded community health centers, academic institutions and rural organizations in Illinois expand substance-abuse and mental health treatment services.
“We’re all partnering to make sure we’ve got safe prescribing, smarter prescribing, and alternatives to opioids that providers know about, patients ask for, and insurers and payers to pay for because it’s important all those things happen if we’re going to provide folks with an alternative to opioids so they don’t go down an unfortunate pathway that can lead to addiction,” Adams said.
The administration officials were joined by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, as well as law enforcement, treatment providers during a tour and discussion at Addiction Treatment Strategies in Edwardsville.
“The president wanted us to travel all over the country, number one to listen, to find out what’s working so we can scale it up, and number two to find out where the challenges exist so we can get out of your way,” Adams said. “We know big government can impede locally led solutions.”
McCance-Katz said the money will be used to help provide evidence-based treatment, ensure medication assisted treatment is available to people with opioid-use disorder, and to help provide prevention services, treatment and recovery services in communities.
“It’s going to take more than just funds to states and communities to address the problem,” McCance-Katz said. “We know we don’t have enough clinicians, peer interventionists available in communities to address all the needs of our people. So [the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)]also has invested in putting addiction treatment teams and prevention teams into states to address the problems in those communities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter
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