The State now has more funding to fight the opioid epidemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded the Louisiana Department of Health a grant to target and reduce opioid abuse across the state. The State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant is funded at $8,167,971 a year for two years.
Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health said the state is in the midst of an opioid crisis and the grant will help address the problem.
“Louisiana averages 122 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. This is a significant concern because 80 percent of heroin users reported starting out misusing prescription opioid medications,” said Gee. “Additionally, by mid-year 2016, in both East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes, narcotic overdose deaths surpassed homicide deaths.”
The Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Behavioral Health will administer the grant which will be used to enhance existing statewide prevention, treatment and recovery services that are available to individuals who are addicted to opioids or who are at risk for opioid addiction or opioid abuse or misuse.
Initiatives funded by the grant include:
“More than 75 percent of offenders have a substance use disorder, and they are at high risk of engaging in substance use unless provided treatment prior to release,” said James M. Le Blanc, Department of Public Safety and Corrections secretary. “We are optimistic these programs will result in a decrease in substance use-related crimes, and will see fewer offenders return to prison, thus saving taxpayers money, and reducing the number of crime victims.”
“This grant allows us to continue our focus on statewide planning and implementation for opioid education, prevention, treatment and recovery support services. We’re looking forward to working with our partners across the state to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions, and to reduce opioid abuse,” said Dr. Janice Petersen, Louisiana Department of Health’s principal investigator for this grant.