April 21, 2017

Warner, Kaine Announce Virginia Will Receive Nearly $10 Million To Combat Opioid Crisis

~ Funding is first of two grant rounds established as a result of the 21st Century Cures Act ~ 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced that Virginia will receive $9,762,332 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to combat the opioid epidemic that kills an average of three Virginians daily.

“These funds will help Virginia respond to the epidemic of opioid abuse that has devastated communities across the Commonwealth,” said the Senators. “Addressing this crisis and stemming the alarming rise in overdose deaths will require a sustained focus on prevention and increased access to opioid addiction treatment.”

Overdose deaths from prescription opioid, fentanyl and heroin abuse have been rising at an alarming rate in Virginia. In November 2016, the State Health Commissioner declared Virginia’s opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia (OCME) estimates that nearly 1,100 Virginians died of opioid overdose in 2016.

The 21st Century Cures Act, which President Obama signed into law at the end of last year, set aside $1 billion over two years for the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to states to amplify their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Sen. Warner sponsored bipartisan legislation earlier this year to help fight synthetic drugs like those closely related to fentanyl, which have been implicated in the rising number of overdose deaths. Last month, Kaine joined 19 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to address the nationwide opioid epidemic by awarding the $1 billion already set aside.  This funding is the first of two rounds that will be provided to states by HHS through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant to increase access to treatment and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.

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