R.I. receives $6.5M in federal grants to fight opioid addiction

Updated at 3:18 p.m.

RHODE ISLAND received $6.5 million in federal grants to combat the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/DHIRAJ SINGH
RHODE ISLAND received $6.5 million in federal grants to combat the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/DHIRAJ SINGH

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island received $6.5 million in State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the state’s congressional delegation announced Thursday.

Some of the funds come from 2019 federal appropriations legislation in the form of State Opioid Response Grants. This year allocation for the grant program nationwide was $487 million. In 2018, the state received $12.6 million from the grants from a total of $930 million nationwide. In 2017, the allocation to the state to combat opioid addiction was $2.2 million. Allocation to Rhode Island from the grant was increased in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 when the program was changed to no longer allocate based on population size but is instead allocated based on factors such as state mortality rate and citizens’ lack of access to treatment and services.

The R.I. Department of Health said that 324 Rhode Islanders died of accidental drug overdoses in 2017. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that the drug overdose rate in Rhode Island was the 10th highest in the nation in 2017 and the ninth highest in 2016.

“Rhode Island is among the hardest hit states in the country when it comes to opioid addiction. That’s why the delegation fought to take into account the deadliness of the epidemic in each state when deciding how to allocate federal support,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

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