U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded Missouri a $10 million opioid crisis grant.
"The opioid epidemic is destroying families and communities across the country, and Missouri is no exception," said Blunt. "In 2015, more than 1,000 Missourians died from a lethal drug overdose. Addiction is treatable, but only around ten percent of those struggling with the disease get the help they need. This grant will expand access to treatment, recovery, and prevention programs, and strengthen our state’s ability to combat this growing epidemic."
Blunt secured funding for the opioid crisis grant program in the short-term government funding bill that was signed into law in December. The program was authorized under the Cures Act, which Blunt supported and was signed into law last year.
Blunt continued, "As chairman of the Labor/HHS appropriations subcommittee, I’ve been proud to lead efforts to prioritize resources for programs that directly target the opioid epidemic. I will continue fighting to secure funding levels that reflect the magnitude of the crisis we face."
A new study by the Missouri Hospital Association found that there were 12,585 drug overdose deaths in Missouri from 1999 to 2015. In 2015, there were 1,098 drug overdose deaths, more than triple the number of overdose deaths in 1999. A separate report by MHA also found a 538 percent increase in the number of babies born addicted to opioids in the last ten years.
As chairman, Blunt previously secured over a 200 percent funding increase for opioid-related programs in the FY 2016 omnibus appropriations bill. That bill included increased resources for medication assisted treatment, the Prescription Drug Overdose State Program, the Substance Abuse and Prevention Treatment Block Grant Program, and treatment programs administered through the 9,000 community health center delivery sites nationwide.