RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- Governor Northam announced Monday that Virginia received another $9.76 million in a federal grant to help fight the opioid epidemic.

This is the second consecutive year that the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services received a State Targeted Response Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant money will be used to continue efforts to purchase medication, support medical staff, and remove barriers to accessing treatment, like transportation.

“The opioid crisis has had a devastating toll on communities across the Commonwealth and there are still too many Virginia families losing loved ones to addiction and overdose,” Governor Northam said in a press release. "We know that for many Virginians, CSBs are the primary provider of mental health services and substance abuse treatment. With these grant funds, we can continue to build upon the important partnerships between public safety and public health officials, and also provide the critical medications, counseling and support services to help individuals in recovery.”

Grant funds will be used to fight the opioid epidemic in the following ways:

  • DBHDS will allocate roughly half of the total grant funds to 24 locally run community services boards—the organizations that are responsible for providing community-based behavioral health services. This will increase access to medically assisted treatment (MAT), which is the evidence-based gold standard for treatment of opioid addiction.
  • $1.8 million will be used to support new and existing evidence-based strategic prevention framework grantees. These grantees, all of which are local community coalitions, will address community gaps to prevent further drug and heroin abuse. The prevention funding will also support media campaigns in communities most impacted by the overdose crisis in Virginia.
  • The remaining funding will support the development of partnerships with hospitals that will connect individuals who overdose with peers in recovery as well as continued funding of warm lines that offer peer support and information to callers.

In 2017, more than 1,200 Virginians died from opioid overdoses, including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl.

Virginia emergency departments reported more than 10,000 visits for opioid and heroin overdose treatment, and EMS workers reported more than 4,000 uses of naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug.

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