Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $94 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 271 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to improve the delivery of substance abuse service in health centers, focusing on the increasing opioid use disorders in underserved populations.

“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today,” said Secretary Burwell. “Expanding access to medication-assisted treatment and integrating these services in health centers bolsters nationwide efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse, supports approximately 124,000 new patients accessing substance use treatment for recovery and helps save lives.”

An increasing public health issue, the addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription medication is increasing. Approximately 4.5 million people in the United States were non-medical prescription pain reliever users in 2013, and an estimated 289,000 were current heroin users. The number of unintentional overdose deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2013, and death related to heroin increased 39 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Today, over 1,300 health centers operate approximately 9,000 service delivery sites in every U.S. state, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin; these health centers employ more than 170,000 staff who provide care for nearly 23 million patients. In 2014, health centers provided behavioral health services to more than 1.3 million patients, including those in need of substance abuse services.

In New Jersey, $1,001,399 was awarded to 3 health centers for substance abuse services. Atlanticare, Henry J. Austin Health Center, and Project Hope were the 3 sites. For more info on New Jersey awards, click here

To read more about the the HHS press release, see here

Source: HHS, HRSA

HHS Awards $94 Million to Health Centers to Help Treat the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse