U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a quick trip to New Hampshire Thursday afternoon to announce $200 million in federal grants targeting community health centers, to increase access to mental health and opioid abuse services.
Ten New Hampshire recipients – nine health centers and the City of Manchester – are set to receive about $175,000 each as part of the grant program.
Speaking at one of those local recipients, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Price said this is just one of several steps the Trump administration plans to take as part of a national effort to address the opioid crisis.
“The president has talked recently about raising the level of the opioid crisis to an emergency,” Price said, “and we’re working on that with his staff, literally as we speak, to bring greater clarity and focus to that, and to bring greater enthusiasm, if you will, on the part of elected officials in Washington.”
Price was referring to a statement made by President Trump last month, calling the opioid crisis a “national emergency.” Since then, the federal government hasn’t followed through on a formal emergency declaration, which would carry with it additional funding and resources.
“We didn’t get into this challenge overnight, it’s taken a long, long time – decades literally – so we’re not going to solve it overnight, but what we must do is raise the visibility of it and work on the kinds of things that will get us to a solution,” Price said. “That’s what the president has challenged us to do, and others within his administration, and we’re coming forward – I hope in short order – with some recommendations for him to consider.”
Earlier this year, some local recovery advocates expressed disappointment that Trump had not given the opioid crisis – and its effects on New Hampshire – much attention since taking office, despite pledging to do so during his campaign.
Officials at Goodwin Community Health say they plan to put part of its new federal grant toward capital improvements, building out space for mental health and substance misuse treatment. Some is also going toward hiring a psychiatrist and recovery support workers.