By Alison Knopf
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that the funding formula for the $1 billion Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) grant allocation formula will stay in place for the second year of the two-year program. SAMSHA made the announcement on October 30, to the relief of the state agencies that were not sure if they would need to write completely new applications for the next year.
Created by the 21st Century Cures Act, the Opioid STR grant program is focused on treatment for opioid use disorders, and has resulted in the expansion of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and, in some states, widespread expansion of opioid treatment programs (OTPs). Keeping the formula in place means that the states that had already embarked on considerable investments in methadone and buprenorphine treatment can keep those initiatives going.
Year 2 Funding Based on a Formula; No Reapplication Needed
The second year of funding will be allocated according to a formula that takes into account the number of overdose deaths and people with an unmet need for treatment.
Importantly, states do not need to reapply. Many states requested that funding levels remain the same to ensure continuity of services to people needing treatment.
There was some concern after former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Tom Price, MD, said this summer that the government would scrutinize the first year’s results before awarding a second year (see https://atforum.com/2017/08/expect-opioid-str-grant-money-scrutinized/).
“The work done by our partners in the states and territories has been central to our efforts to combat the trend of opioid abuse and overdose,” said Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at HHS, in making the announcement. “Together, we will continue our work to advance the behavioral health of the nation by swiftly and directly addressing this public health crisis through evidence-based practices and programs.”
There is, so far, no plan to continue the funding beyond year 2.