Panhandle Health District gets $200K grant for opioid fight

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HAYDEN — The Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the Hayden-based Panhandle Health District a $200,000 grant for one year to support the Trump administration’s commitment to end the opioid crisis.

The grant is for developing local stakeholder partnerships, conducting needs assessments and developing plans to implement and sustain substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder, (OUD) prevention, treatment and recovery interventions.

"(Rural Communities Opioid Response Program planning) is part of a multi-year initiative by HRSA to support treatment for and prevention of SUD/OUD," said HRSA Administrator George Sigounas. "The goal is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of the diseases in high-risk rural communities."

The award is part of HRSA's second installment of planning grants announced on Tuesday.

The purpose of the funding is to address disparities that plague rural communities attempting to eradicate substance use disorder.

"Rural communities continue to face several challenges in accessing SUD/OUD prevention, treatment and recovery services," said Associate Administrator for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Tom Morris.

"Over half of rural counties nationwide lack a provider who is waivered to prescribe buprenorphine (a medication used in combination with therapy to help people reduce or quit their use of opiates)."

Rural communities also face workforce shortages, geographic barriers, limited treatment infrastructure and stigma associated with SUD/OUD.

Nationally, HRSA has awarded $24 million to the response program.

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