HARTFORD, CT - Governor Ned Lamont and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation on Thursday announced that the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) is receiving a $5.8 million federal grant that will be used to enhance the state’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis.
The funding, which originates from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), supplements the first year of the two-year State Opioid Response grant the state received last fall. DMHAS will use the grant to expand access to treatment and recovery support services in Connecticut.
“Over the past several years, Connecticut has been at the forefront of public health efforts to confront the opioid crisis, but our state’s residents are still struggling with addiction, and it is incumbent upon us to help,” Governor Lamont said. “Addiction is an illness and not a moral failing. The only way to address the opioid epidemic is to treat it as what it is: a true public health emergency.”
“This additional federal funding is vital to combat the opioid epidemic in our state,” the Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. “We have seen firsthand – or been directly affected by – the devastating impacts of this epidemic in every city and town across Connecticut. Each of us has heard from countless individuals, as well as their families, struggling with addiction that far more help is needed to battle this disease. We will continue working with our colleagues in Congress to ensure that Connecticut receives the necessary support for the programs and services that play a major role in this fight.”
“This supplemental funding will help bolster our existing opioid-related initiatives as well as allow us to develop new ones,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “By expanding our opioid efforts, we not only save lives by preventing fatal overdoses, but engaging more individuals into treatment so they may begin their path of recovery.”
The SAMHSA grants aim to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment using three Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder, reducing unmet treatment needs, and reducing opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for opioid use disorder.
Last month, Governor Lamont introduced a legislative proposal that aims to reduce the misuse of prescription opioids by strengthening oversight of prescriptions, facilitating the use of the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, prohibiting discrimination against individuals who use life-saving opioid antagonists, and enhancing communication between health care practitioners and patients regarding opioid use. That bill – HB 7159, An Act Addressing Opioid Use – is currently being considered by the general law committee.