Rhode Island is poised to receive $6.5 million in federal funds to help combat opioid abuse and addiction.
The state’s congressional delegation announced the funding on Thursday as Rhode Island’s share of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration bill for 2018, which included changes to the funding formula.
“Rhode Island is among the hardest-hit states in the country when it comes to opioid addiction. That’s why the delegation fought to take into account the deadliness of the epidemic in each state when deciding how to allocate federal support,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “I am proud my colleagues and I in the delegation were able to increase Rhode Island’s share of these important funds.”
The state’s drug overdose death rate per capita was tenth highest in the nation in 2017. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, 324 residents died of accidental drug overdoses that year.
The funding comes via the Trump administration’s State Opioid Response Grants, which are intended to help states increase access to medication-assisted treatment and reduce opioid overdose deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
Whitehouse, Sen. Jack Reed and Reps. Jim Langevin and David Cicilline voted for the bill, and for the appropriation bills for defense, and the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, which will provide $1.5 billion in grants next year for Rhode Island.
In a statement, Cicilline said: “The devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic sweeping our nation have not been lost on hardworking families right here in Rhode Island. Fighting back against debilitating addiction and making sure that people in need can get their lives back on track requires bold investment that gives trained professionals the necessary tools and resources to continue their work.”