Amid ongoing efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, New Hampshire is poised to soon receive more than $26 million in federal dollars, geared toward helping bring down overdose deaths and addiction rates.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funding Wednesday, with more than $1.8 billion delegated nationwide.
“What we are trying to do today is make people aware of the crisis and the solutions,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, told reporters during a conference call. “Under the leadership of the president and others, we are taking unprecedented action at local levels to combat the crisis.”
The money, secured by Congress last year, will be given out through a pair of programs. Among them is a new three-year disbursement of more than $900 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spread among 47 states; Washington, D.C.; two U.S. territories; and 16 localities. New Hampshire is set to receive more than $11 million — $3.7 million each year.
The funding is intended to help state and local governments track overdose data as closely to real-time as possible.
“I applaud the Trump administration for working to make this new funding available, providing states with the resources needed to better understand the opioid crisis at hand and how we can work to best combat it,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a news release Wednesday.
Jake Leon, spokesman for the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, which will administer the funds, said the money will help the department better understand how to improve care.
“The Department will work with data from resources such as the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, hospital emergency departments and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, to understand what is happening at the local level and how community based services can be improved throughout the continuum of care,” Leon said.
The money will also fund new programs, Leon said, such as training and resources for grandparents or other relatives caring for children whose parents have a substance use disorder.
In 2018, New Hampshire saw 471 drug overdose deaths, the vast majority from opioids, according to data from the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
New Hampshire will also receive nearly $23 million for its second installment of the State Opioid Response grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which gives “flexible funding” to state governments for prevention, treatment and recovery programs, the release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states.
New Hampshire already received the first allotment of the grant and supplemental funding, totaling more than $34 million, in September 2018 and May, respectively.
The first round of money went toward establishing The Doorway programs, a statewide effort to create a “hub and spoke” system for referrals and recovery services. Funding also was used to further relationships with local providers and increase medication-assisted treatment, Leon said.
He said Thursday that the department doesn’t yet know when it will receive the new round of State Opioid Response funding.
Those seeking recovery resources in Cheshire County can visit the The Doorway at 640 Marlboro Road in Keene (the Curran Building on Route 101) Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or seek support through the state’s 24/7 hotline at 211.