Lawmakers announced last month a new $750,000 “earmark” (designation of funds for a specific purpose) of federal funding will go to CODAC Behavioral Healthcare of Rhode Island to renovate and modernize new facility in Providence, Rhode Island. The facility will be CODAC’s new headquarters, where medical and administration services will be provided. The new, consolidated site will also allow for medical expansion due to patient need, the program announced last month.
CODAC, which serves about 5,000 patients, outgrew its former site, where some staff had to create work spaces out of closets, according to the program.
The funding earmark is thanks to U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats representing Rhode Island.
RIDOH grant for first responders
Reed and Whitehouse also announced a new $800,000 First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Support Services Act Grant, also from the federal government, to be administered by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), trains and equips first responders (police, firefighters, paramedics and other organizations) on how to respond to overdose-related incidents, including how to administer overdose reversal medication naloxone.
Last year, 435 Rhode Island residents died of accidental overdoses, according to RIDOH. Illicit fentanyl played a role in about 75 percent of all overdose deaths in Rhode Island, according to RIDOH, and 66 percent of all overdose deaths nationally, according to the CDC.
“We are in the midst of an opioid overdose surge. It is a community-wide problem and a nationwide problem that requires both a community and national response,” said Senator Reed. “We need a surge resources, treatment, and outreach to effectively respond. That is what CODAC is doing here in Rhode Island. That is what Senator Whitehouse and I are doing in the United States Senate. We’re making sure treatment and recovery programs are available, accessible, and affordable. We are working to remove the stigma surrounding addiction and overdoses. We are supporting law enforcement in their efforts to crack down on drug trafficking and ensure first responders can administer life-saving medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. This will help save lives and get more people the help they need, when they need it.”
“The disease of addiction has touched far too many families from every walk of life,” said Senator Whitehouse. “It’s so important that convenient high-quality care is available for people seeking help, and that’s where CODAC comes in. CODAC is doing lifesaving work on the front lines of the opioid crisis, and I’m very pleased to join Senator Reed to deliver this funding to expand its services to more people on the long, noble road of recovery. The expertise of Linda Hurley and her dedicated staff was instrumental in helping me craft the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which continues to guide the federal response to the opioid epidemic.”
Linda Hurley is president and CEO of CODAC, and thanked the senators for their help. “As opioid deaths continue to climb, CODAC is committed to providing comprehensive and competent care. Senators Reed and Whitehouse have historically supported our mission, and now with this procurement are supporting our most recent effort to provide, cutting-edge, integrated care for those who come to us for services,” said Hurley. “The new building is not only much more conducive service provision, it is also a statement – that we respect those we serve with professionalism and compassion.
More grants for opioids and mental health
Also in September, Senators Reed and Whitehouse as well as Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and David Cicilline (D-RI) announced $11,371,485 in new federal grants for Rhode Island. More than $7.4 million in federal State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding will go towards statewide opioid addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. Federal grants will also invest in local Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs), which provide access to quality mental health care to residents across the state.
“A lot of people are struggling these days with mental health and addiction issues. Help is available and we need to connect people in need to proper care and treatment. This federal funding will save lives. It will expand access to mental health and addiction care,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Labor-Health and Human Services. “This increased support for mental and substance use treatment offers a critical lifeline to residents across the state and strengthens our communities.”
“Too many Rhode Island families from all walks of life have been touched by the disease of addiction,” said Senator Whitehouse, who authored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the law guiding the federal response to the opioid crisis. “This funding will help get more people onto the long, noble path to recovery and provide reinforcement to the health care and public safety personnel doing the important work on the front lines of the opioid crisis.”
“As our state continues to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must take extra care to combat the concerning rise in accidental overdoses and opioid addiction in Rhode Island,” said Congressman Langevin. “I’m glad that these federal dollars will be used to expand access to mental health and addiction recovery resources, so that Rhode Islanders struggling with substance use disorders can receive the help they need.”
“Far too many Rhode Islanders have fallen victim to our nation’s opioid epidemic and we need to do all we can to not only support those in recovery, but to also boost addiction prevention programing,” said Congressman Cicilline, who fought for adequate funding for the State Opioid Response Grants Program in the 2022 appropriations law. “We need to make sure that our neighbors who are struggling with their mental health or with substance use disorder not only know that help is available, but can access that care without undue barriers or stigma. The State Opioid Response Grants Program has been saving lives since its inception, which is why I continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that we are providing enough funding to keep these grants flowing to communities like ours.”
- The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) will receive $7,443,492 to help prevent opioid addiction statewide, reduce the number of prescription drug/opioid overdoses, increase access to treatment and reduce unmet needs through prevention, treatment, and gather data on addiction treatment and recovery resources.
- Newport County Community Mental Health; Gateway Healthcare, Inc.; and Thrive Behavioral Health, Inc. will each receive $1 million federal grants to improve community behavioral health services.
- Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) will receive $928,000 to treat adults with opioid use disorder and provide behavioral health counseling services.