TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said HHS will provide $485 million in gr ants to help states and territories fight opioid addiction, and
Arizona will be getting more than $12 million.
The money is to help with a variety of prevention, treatment, and recovery services depending on the needs of recipients.
"These gr ants aim to increase access to treatment, reduce unmet need, and reduce overdose related deaths," said Price. "I understand the urgency of this funding; however, I also want to ensure the resources and policies are properly aligned with and remain responsive to this evolving epidemic."
Read the full release from DHHS here --> https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2017/04/19/trump-administration-awards-grants-states-combat-opioid-crisis.html
Director of the Pima County Health Department Dr. Francisco Garcia said their main focus is treatment capacity among the county's youth. Garcia said in 2016, six teens died from an overdose.
"Those are six preventable deaths," said Garcia.
Jeremiah Hoke, a recovering addict, said he's been misusing prescription drugs and heroin for about 15 years. He's now seeking treatment and has been clean for about four months. He believes the money should go primarily to improving the access to treatment facilities.
"It's really hard to get into rehab facilities," said Hoke, who's been getting help at the Gospel Rescue Mission in South Tucson. "We have to go through a lot of hoops to get insurance. It took me six months before I could get into a rehab facility."
Garcia said he'd like to see a greater focus on medically assisted therapy for young people who have heroin or opioid addiction.
This means taking a medication to help people beat their addiction
"Many of these medications are not well established for youth and young people," said Garcia. "But they're probably one of the best things we can do for them."
HHS said their top five priorities include strengthening public health surveillance, advancing the practice of pain management, improving access to treatment and recovery services, targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs, and supporting research.