Language entered into legislation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget request by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in 2017 has resulted in West Virginia receiving an additional $30 million in grant funds to combat the opioid crisis.
Capito recently announced her state had been awarded $43 million in State Opioid Response grant funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Capito’s office said that funding would have been substantially less had the Senator not included language into the bill years ago that leveled the playing field for states most impacted by the opioid crisis.
At the onset of funding discussions, states would be funded based on population. Capito said that would have put West Virginia at a disadvantage. As a Senate Appropriations Committee member, Capito added language to the HHS’s budget request that set aside 15 percent for states with the highest mortality rates from opioid use.
The set aside netted W. Va. over $30 million in additional funds this year.
“West Virginia’s fight against the opioid epidemic has vigorously advanced due to the SOR grant program by educating the public along with our first responders, opening the discussion around SUD and MAT, and most importantly, saved countless lives,” Senator Capito said. “As we continue to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our state’s efforts against opioids, the combination of these resources, and this focus will be as important as ever going forward. Through my work on the Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked hard to make sure our state has the resources necessary to combat this crisis, including creating new solutions like the measure I authored to prioritize funds for states hardest hit by the crisis. I will continue to fight to make sure our state has what it needs to effectively battle this crisis.”
The funds are used to support statewide behavioral health infrastructure, to coordinate prevention and treatment activities, increase awareness of treatment options and reduce stigma, and to sponsor treatment for individuals without insurance or whose insurance does not cover substance use disorder, among other things.