The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced $3,299,862 in awards to rural communities in Pennsylvania to support key strategies to respond to the overdose risk from fentanyl and other opioids. These awards help advance President Biden’s commitment to beat the opioid epidemic as part of his Unity Agenda for the nation.
Across the country, more than 100,000 people die each year from overdose. Individuals who call rural communities home and who are experiencing opioid use disorder – including from fentanyl, heroin or other opioids – can face challenges in accessing treatment and recovery services. Geographic isolation and transportation barriers can make finding treatment particularly challenging and limited mental health and substance use disorder health care providers in the community can further complicate access. The stigmatization of substance use disorder and its treatments are additional barriers to access. HRSA’s funding is targeted to helping communities address these critical needs and expand access to services.
“Far too many rural families have faced the devastation of overdose, and these deaths are felt deeply across rural communities — where often everyone knows someone lost too soon,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we know that funding based on population size or other broad-based rubrics can miss the vital treatment and response needs of rural communities. That’s why the investments we are announcing today are targeted to rural communities and tailored to the unique challenges of helping rural health care leaders expand access to treatment and build recovery pathways to prevent overdose.”
Today’s announcement includes the following investments in Pennsylvania:
· Supporting Rural Communities in Preventing and Responding to Overdoses: $300,000 will support one award to help rural communities respond to their specific and immediate needs, including the distribution of life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications.
· Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Young People: $1,000,000 will support one award to focus on building, strengthening and expanding mental health and substance use disorder services for young people in rural communities to expand treatment and help prevent overdose.
· Preventing and Addressing Neonatal Exposure: $1,999,862 will support four awards to develop and implement interventions in rural communities to prevent, treat and care for opioid exposed infants by focusing on systems of care, family supports, and social determinants of health.
To view the full list of awardees, see: RCORP Webpage.
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