HHS Invests Nearly $15 Million in Rural Areas to Combat Stimulant Use

Photo: Grant Faint/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, is investing nearly $15 million in 29 organizations in rural communities to address the abuse of psychostimulants and overdose deaths that are associated with it.

Psychostimulants include methamphetamine and other illegal drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, as well as prescription stimulants for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression.

The overdose crisis has evolved over time and is now largely characterized by deaths involving illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, and, increasingly, psychostimulants, according to the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Funding goes to 29 organizations for amounts of $500,000 each.

Drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, have increased from 547 in 1999 to 23,837 in 2020, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The rate of drug overdose deaths associated with psychostimulants in general is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, overdose deaths related to cocaine and psychostimulants disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority populations, the CDC said, including black and Native American/Alaska Native populations.

THE GREAT TREND

With the $15 million investment, HHS has provided a total of more than $400 million to the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative, the HRSA said. This is a multi-year initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality related to substance use, including opioid use, in high-risk rural communities.

Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HHS also recently announced $55 million in funding for its Tribal Opioid Response grant program that addresses the overdose crisis in communities. tribal.

Both programs address opioid and stimulant abuse, as evidenced by the President’s proposed FY2023 budget for HHS on $21.1 billion drug-related programs and initiatives. of dollars. Funding helps support the National Drug Control Strategy.

Additionally, last month the White House released the administration’s plan to address methamphetamine and its impact on public health and safety.

REGISTRATION

“The nation’s overdose epidemic has claimed too many lives too soon, especially in our rural communities,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
“The Department is committed to expanding access to addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services as part of our national overdose prevention strategy. Today’s funding builds on our continued efforts to do all we can to meet the needs of those struggling with addiction – only care, but hope, to all individuals and their relatives.”

“As we work to stop the devastation caused by fentanyl, we cannot and will not lose sight of the role psychostimulants play in the country’s substance use crisis,” said Carole Johnson, Administrator of the HRSA. “Our investment will help rural communities across the country expand access to addiction treatment for psychostimulant abuse and open pathways to recovery.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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