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July 25, 2015
Contact: HHS Press Office

HHS increases access to substance use disorder treatment

New funding and guidance will help states combat opioid use disorder

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced new steps to increase access to substance use disorder treatment services, focusing on treatment for opioid use disorder. With today’s announcement, HHS is making additional funding available to states and community health centers to expand the use of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, and is releasing guidance to help states implement innovative approaches to substance use disorder treatment.

Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based, comprehensive way to address the needs of individuals that combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. According to a study conducted by researchers at the Food and Drug Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of past-year opioid abuse or dependence significantly exceeded treatment capacity each year, increasing from 634.1 per 100,000 in 2003 to 891.8 per 100,000 in 2012.

“For those Americans who have fallen into opioid addiction and dependency, we can make the greatest impact by helping them move into recovery,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “This funding will expand access to medication-assisted treatment and help states and community health centers continue to improve their responses to the opioid epidemic.”

The new funding for medication-assisted treatment is provided through SAMHSA, and next week, the Health Resources and Services Administration will make $100 million available in additional funding to improve and expand the delivery of substance use disorder services, with a focus on medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

SAMHSA is awarding up to $11 million annually to eleven states across the nation to increase access to comprehensive medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. The eleven SAMHSA grants for medication-assisted treatment will provide up to $33 million over three years. States can use the funding to enhance and expand their treatment service systems for people with opioid use disorders.  The grants promote effective, comprehensive, coordinated care including evidence-based medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services.

HHS is also creating innovative ways for states to address substance use disorders. In response to a number of requests from states and stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering state Medicaid programs a new opportunity to receive federal funding through a demonstration project that reimburses for substance use disorder treatment. This will help states implement innovative treatment approaches, including developing effective care coordination models to better connect those with substance use disorders to providers.

Secretary Burwell has made addressing opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose a priority and work is underway within HHS on this important issue. The Secretary’s evidence-based opioid initiative focuses on three targeted areas: informing opioid prescribing practices, increasing the use of naloxone (a drug that reverses drug overdose), and expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorder. The Obama Administration is committed to tackling the prescription drug and heroin epidemic, proposing significant investments in the FY 16 budget to intensify efforts to reduce opioid misuse and abuse.

For more information on the SAMHSA grant awards, visit: http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/awards/mat-pdoa

For more information on the Secretary’s Opioid Initiative, visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/sp/reports/2015/OpioidInitiative/ib_OpioidInitiative.cfm

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: July 25, 2015

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