Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. Tune in to NBC10 at 7 p.m. for Generation Addicted, our exclusive in-depth report on the heroin and opioid epidemic in our area and beyond.
More than $2 million in additional federal funding to combat the heroin and opioid crisis is coming to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced.
The announcement came Wednesday, on International Overdose Awareness Day. Pennsylvania will receive an additional $1 million to supplement Prevention for States grants it's already receiving, plus $490,000 for better tracking of opioid-involved deaths. The money is part of $53 million in additional funding the federal government is awarding to 44 states as part of the ONDCP's aim at combating the heroin and opioid epidemic in high drug-trafficking areas.
Prevention for States helps state health departments implement strategies to prevent prescription drug overdoses by improving safe prescribing practices, one of the pillars of ONDCP's strategy.
Across the river in New Jersey, an additional $727,688 in federal funding will go toward the Data-Driven Prevention Initiative to fight opioid misuse and overdose by improving data collection, developing new strategies to avoid addiction and helping communities to develop better prevention programs.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell and ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli said the money falls in line with the government's three pillars in fighting the opioid epidemic: attacking opioid misuse and dependency through the medical community, expanding assistance to medication-assisted treatment and making lifesaving overdose antidote naloxone more available.
"We can help states, communities and families push back even harder against the opioid epidemic," Botticelli said. He and Burwell also called on Congress to approve the $1.1 billion in funding that President Obama requested to go toward finding the epidemic next year.
In Pennsylvania, state officials this week also announced additional efforts to combat heroin and opioid addiction in the form of 25 Centers of Excellence offering addiction treatment slated to open throughout the state by Jan. 1. Of those, eight are in the Delaware and Lehigh valleys:
• AIDS Case Group/Sharon Hill Medical, Delaware County • Community Health & Dental Care, Inc., Montgomery County • Family Service Association of Buck County, Bucks County • Pathways to Housing PA, Philadelphia County • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Perelman School of Medicine Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics/Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County • Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia County • Reading Hospital and Health System, Berks County • Neighborhood Health Centers of Lehigh Valley, Lehigh, Northampton Counties