The Lead

$15M in grant funds headed to substance use disorder treatment providers for pandemic response

By: - February 18, 2022 4:45 pm

Stock photo by Juanmonino/Getty Images

The state entity that oversees drug and alcohol use treat programs announced Friday that through 107 grant agreements, 375 substance use disorder treatment providers across Pennsylvania will receive funding for “pandemic-related expenses.” 

The grant funding, which amounts to more than $15 million, can be used to “minimize the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring the provision of testing and support of vaccines as appropriate, and delivering quality, evidence-based treatment to individuals who are underinsured or uninsured,” according to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

DDAP noted that the funding is not, however, limited to those uses. 

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had negative impacts on the entire drug and alcohol field including individuals struggling with the disease of addiction and those providing life-saving services,” DDAP Secretary Jen Smith said in a Friday statement. “This funding will help providers fill in the gaps to ensure that every Pennsylvanian in need of substance use disorder treatment services is able to access safe, high-quality services.”

Current state and national data show that drug overdose deaths increased dramatically in recent years, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 pandemic contributes to increase in overdose deaths, state health officials say

From 2020 to 2021, during much of the pandemic-induced lockdowns – Pennsylvania recorded 5,089 drug overdose deaths. That number is second only to 2017, according to state Department of Health data. 

“We’re pleased that this funding is able to assist a large number of SUD [substance use disorder] treatment providers and confident that it will make a difference in keeping them open and operational at a time when we need all the treatment services possible for folks in need,” Smith said.

Earlier this week, Smith encouraged employers in the commonwealth, especially those in the healthcare industry, to utilize a free online tool to help individuals better understand the science of addiction and warning signs of SUD. 

‘No one is immune’: DDAP encourages Pa. workers, health care workers, to invest five minutes to better understand addiction

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