HRSA Gives $1.4M to 8 R.I. health centers to fight opioid crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a combined $1,405,600 to eight Rhode Island health centers to increase access to substance abuse and mental health services, aimed at mitigating the national opioid crisis the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

“No corner of our country, from rural areas to urban centers, has escaped the scourge of the opioid crisis,” said HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price, “The Trump Administration is taking strong, decisive action to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic. These grants from HRSA go directly to local organizations, which are best situated to address substance abuse and mental health issues in their own communities.”

The eight centers, which will each receive $175,000 from the HSRA, are:

  • Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Pawtucket
  • Comprehensive Community Action Inc., Cranston
  • East Bay Community Action Program, Newport
  • Northwest Community Healthcare Centers, Inc., Pascoag
  • Providence Community Health Centers, Inc., Providence
  • Thundermist Health Center, Warwick
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency, Johnston
  • Wood River Health Services, Inc., Hopkinton

“Nationally, about half of all care for common mental health conditions happens in the primary care settings,” said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas. “In health centers, where people are often most comfortable, staff with varied expertise have a unique opportunity to provide mental health and substance abuse services to patients who wouldn’t otherwise seek or have access to treatment.”

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Nationwide, HRSA awarded more than $200 million to 1,178 health centers.

The expanded funding is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic by:

  • Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  • Targeting use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  • Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  • Advancing better practices for pain management

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.