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Combating the Opioid Crisis in Virginia

Posted by Joe Antle on April 22, 2018 10:50 AM EDT
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"Virginia to Receive $9.7 million to combat......

the opioid crisis".  And so read the headling in the small article from The Associated Press from an announcement in my favorite local daily newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot which was published on Saturday, April 21, 2018.  

The good news is that the federal government is earmarking specific funds to arrest the continued growth in this health crisis.  As someone who spent the majority of my career in the media business, it is nice to read headlines which portend the beginning of a potential strategy where federal dollars flowing to the states can be aimed at a specific health situation which is resolvable.  

I reprint the small article in its entirety here, knowing that this is just the early stages of a long-term strategy for fighting and winning against this rapidly escalating and deadly disease state.  Substance use disorder, whether it's is due to alcoholism or drug abuse is in and of itself, a horrific preventable and reversible social/physical/economic travesty which ruins relationships, careers, and lives.  The opioid epidemic adds a particularly draconian and urgent dimension to it due to the almost seismic shift in overdoses.

While defeating this scourge will likely take years and creative new approaches, seeing this epidemic attached at state, regional and local levels, leveraging funding from many sources, now the federal budget too, is a very positive step.  After all, we have found solutions to the wide-scale usage of tobacco, and have eliminated many disease states such as polio.  It is probably not going to be easy to beat this epidemic with a simple vaccination or with the awareness of the longer term effects it will have on health.  

The solution will probably have a multi-facet aspect to it and it will take many years.  But we cannot wait to start to find the solutions at all levels of engagement for this one, as tough as it is to defeat, is in fact, defeatable on many fronts-prevention, recovery support and management, and relapse avoidance are the key areas where we can deliver impact.

So, with thanks to The Associated Press and The Virginian-Pilot, I am pleased to share the good news of this federal funding for states and regional-based and administered solutions.  While short and brief, this small "blurb" speaks volumes!

"Virginia will receive nearly $10 million in federal grant money to help combat the opioid crisis.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday its second year of funding through the Opioid State Targeted Response program.  Virginia is getting $9.76 million.

"According to the federal department, recipients used the first year's funding to implement medication-assisted treatment, promote prevention strategies as well as the use of antidote naloxone, and build sustainable recovery support services.

"Opioid abuse is causing deep problems across the country.  It is being blamed for shortened life expectancies, growing burdens on foster care systems, and strains on police and fire departments.

Virginia's health commissioner declared the state's growing opioid addiction problem a public health emergency in November 2016".

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