Texas is set to receive an injection of federal dollars as part of a nationwide effort to fight opioid addiction.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will issue $485 million in grants to states and territories to combat the evolving epidemic, which was responsible for more than 33,000 deaths in 2015. Texas will receive $27.4 million, the second-largest allocation behind California. The funds were awarded based on overdose death rates and unmet need for treatment.
Of the states receiving the five largest amounts, Texas' 2015 opioid death rate of 4.7 per 100,000 population was by far the lowest, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Only Hawaii (4.1), South Dakota (3.5), and Nebraska (3.1) had lower rates than Texas. At 36 opioid deaths per 100,000 population, West Virginia had the nation's highest rate.)
In a letter to governors, HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, said the money will support prevention, treatment, and recovery services, depending on recipients' specific needs.
"As I begin my tenure as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, I do so with a profound commitment to addressing this public health crisis as one of our top three departmental priorities," Secretary Price said. "Through a sustained focus on people, patients, and partnerships, I am confident that together we can turn the tide on this public health crisis."
Although funding this year was disbursed immediately, Secretary Price asked governors to work with HHS to identify best practices, lessons learned, and key strategies so that funds disbursed in 2018 can be used more effectively.
"My intention for the second year is to develop funding allocations and policies that are the most clinically sound, effective, and efficient," Secretary Price said.
For more information about the grants and the nationwide effort to combat opioid addiction, see the HHS website.
Action, May 1, 2017
Updated, June 4, 2017