U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has announced that the State of Mississippi will receive $3.58 million in federal funding to combat opioid addiction and overdose related deaths.
Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, appropriated 21st Century Cures Act funding in December as part of the Continuing Resolution to fight the opioid crisis in the United States. The grantee is the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services.
“The opioid problem in Mississippi is serious, and this funding will help provide the state the resources needed to continue to address the issue. Mississippi health officials will be able to use this funding to improve treatment options and prevent unnecessary deaths,” Cochran said.
The State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will allow states and territories to expand access to opioid treatment, implement a broad range of prevention strategies, train health care providers, and improve prescription drug monitoring. These activities are expected to address abuse of prescription opioids as well as illicit drugs such as heroin.
In all, HHS is making $485 million available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and six U.S. territories. These grants are formula based and administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Last September, Cochran announced a $352,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to enhance Mississippi’s prescription drug monitoring program. The state instituted a prescription drug monitoring system in 2014 for licensed physicians who prescribe, administer or dispense any controlled substance in the state.
Opioids were responsible for over 33,000 deaths in the United States in 2015, according to HHS. The Mississippi State Department of Health attributes many accidental overdose deaths in Mississippi to a high level of opioid painkiller prescriptions.