Nearly $3 million in new federal funds will go to community health centers in Washington state, part of $94 million nationwide aimed at treating an epidemic of opioid addiction, including prescription painkillers and heroin.
Community health centers in Washington state have been awarded nearly $3 million of some $94 million in federal funding to fight opioid abuse and addiction, health officials announced Friday.
The money was allocated through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address the growing problem of addiction to opioids, including prescription painkillers and illicit drugs such as heroin.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues in the United States today,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
Nationwide, 47,055 people died in 2014 after overdosing on drugs, the highest number on record, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in January. The spike has been driven by two trends: a rise in deaths tied to prescription painkillers and a resurgence of deaths from illicit opiates, led by heroin.
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Rising rates of heroin deaths have sparked new attention in King County, where officials this month announced the formation of a new task force to address the problem. Heroin deaths in King County jumped 58 percent between 2013 and 2014, to 156, a recent University of Washington study found.
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray was at the Recovery Café in Seattle to stress new efforts to combat the crisis. She plans to push efforts in the Senate health committee to expand access to the opiate antidote naloxone, to improve prescription-drug monitoring and expand access to medication-assisted treatment.
The new funds include $8.2 million allocated to HHS region 10, which comprises Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon.
In Seattle, International Community Health Services and Neighborcare Health were awarded $325,000 each in funding for opioid treatment services. Community Health Care in Tacoma was awarded $406,250.
Other Washington sites receiving funds include Columbia Valley Community Health in Wenatchee, $352,083; Community Health Association of Spokane, $325,000; Community Health of Central Washington and Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, both in Yakima, $379,167 each; and Peninsula Community Health Services in Bremerton, $325,000.