N.H. Eyes Federal Funds to Allay Opioid Crisis
New Hampshire has until mid-August to submit a plan for how to spend $23 million in response to the opioid epidemic.
There is so much interest that a public input session scheduled for tonight in Concord was booked to capacity before it began.
However, the state will accept written comments until this Friday. The email address: SOR@DHHS.nh.gov.
SOR stands for State Opioid Response, the federal grant round to be submitted to the federal government. The funds aim to reduce unmet treatment needs, curtail opioid overdose-related deaths, and expand access to medication-assisted treatment.
Drug addiction and recovery leaders say the federal funding is a major opportunity.
"The federal government is putting out money in this particular opportunity in a different way, really targeting hardest-hit states like New Hampshire," said Tym Rourke, director of Substance Use Disorder grantmaking for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. "You know, in context, we're receiving $23 million ... Florida is receiving about the same amount. So we're receiving an amount of money that feels much more positioned in line with our crisis."
The funding distribution model was applauded by New Hampshire's congressional delegation and Gov. Chris Sununu, who have long argued that the Granite State was getting short-changed, despite its opioid health crisis, because of its small size.
Rourke, who also sits on the Governor's Commission on Alcohol, and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery, discussed the funding as part of a guest panel Monday on The Exchange.
He said certain requirements would be tied to the grant money, things like providing evidence-based practices and data collection.
Jacqueline Abikoff, executive director of Horizons Counseling Center, said data collection may be challenging for some small organizations. But she says it's importance includes helping centers to demonstrate programs are effective, and to maintain services that help those with addictions.