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New federal funding is available for organizations interested in creating new harm reduction programs for substance use or expanding existing ones. The size and focus of this funding is historic for the US.
Eligible applicants are States; local, Tribal, and territorial governments; Tribal organizations; non-profit community-based organizations; and primary and behavioral health organizations. Total funding is $30 million over the next three years. Twenty-five awards are available, up to $400,000 per award per year.
Harm reduction includes strategies like overdose-reversal medications (e.g., Naloxone), fentanyl test strips, SBIRT, safe syringe programs, and more. The goal is to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with substance use behavior.
Since this announcement was made, I’ve seen several Tweets from government officials. The governor of my home state, Pennsylvania, tweeted this out:
Senator Chuck Grassley announced the bipartisan Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act passed in the Senate Wednesday 8 December.
At my institution, I am part of a team working with a county jail health department to increase access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) using peer support specialists (i.e., navigators). The county jail nurses screen every detainee entering the jail. There are hundreds of positive screenings each month, but the jail has very limited services.
A colleague of mine is working to increase the specificity of fentanyl testing strips. There are multiple analogs of fentanly with varying potencies. Some cities and states offer drug checking locations to test for fentanyl, a powerful opioid whose influence has grown over the past five years. The testing strip technology has not caught up to the diversification of fentanyl.
Another colleague of mine is working with a large non-profit that distributes overdose-reversal medications in Arizona. This non-profit does incredible work, but lacks the data expertise to effectively track and evaluate distribution outcomes. Better data analysis will lead to more precise distribution efforts.
If you are looking for more funds to reduce the harm of substance use in your community, then consider applying. This is a good time to ramp up efforts to meet the demand.
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