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Virginia awarded $16 million grant to fight opioid crisis

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia will receive a $15,809,989 grant to combat the continuing opioid crisis, Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday.

The money is part of a State Opioid Response grant provided by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“These resources will help ensure that treatment and support services reach every corner of the Commonwealth,” Governor Northam said in a statement.

More than 1,200 people in Virginia died of opioid overdoses in 2017. One hundred of those fatal overdoses were in the Richmond area, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

To combat this epidemic, the Commonwealth has implemented measures such as increasing access to the antidote Naloxone, revising regulations on opioid prescriptions, and changing the Prescription Monitoring Program.

The funds from this grant will be used to support efforts organized by Virginia’s Community Services Boards (CSB) and distributed locally to community initiatives, according to Governor Northam’s. Additionally, the research component of this grant will allow the Virginia Higher Education Collaborative to partner with the CSBs.

“This grant will make possible more of the therapy, proven medications and prevention efforts that have made progress stemming the tide of Virginia’s opioid epidemic,” Dr. S. Hughes Melton, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Commissioner, said. “With continued focus, we believe we can reverse these terrible trends.”

With the addition of this new grant, Virginia has now received $35,334,653 from SAMHSA over the past three years to battle the opioid crisis.