WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), recently announced nearly $15 million in funding for rural communities to address psychostimulant misuse and related overdose deaths. Psychostimulants include methamphetamine and other illegal drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, as well as prescription stimulants for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression.
“The nation’s overdose epidemic has taken too many lives too soon, particularly across our rural communities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Department is committed to expanding access to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services as part of our National Overdose Prevention Strategy. [The] funding builds on our ongoing efforts to do all we can to meet the needs of those battling addiction—providing not only care, but hope, to all individuals and their loved ones.”
The HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy notes that the overdose crisis has evolved over time and is now largely characterized by deaths involving illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, and, increasingly, psychostimulants. Drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, rose from 547 in 1999 to 23,837 in 2020, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of drug overdose deaths associated with psychostimulants in general is higher in rural than in urban areas. Additionally, cocaine and psychostimulant-involved overdose deaths disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority populations, including Black and American Indian/Alaska Native populations. Last month, the White House released the Administration’s new plan to address methamphetamine and its impact on public health and safety.
“While we work to stop the devastation caused by fentanyl, we cannot and will not lose sight of the role psychostimulants are playing in the nation’s substance use crisis,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Our investment will help rural communities across the country expand access to substance use treatment for psychostimulant misuse and open pathways to recovery.”
With the nearly $15 million investment, HHS says it has provided a total of more than $400 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative, a multi-year initiative aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality of substance use, including opioid use, in high-risk rural communities. Through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HHS also recently announced $55 million in funding for its Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) grant program that addresses the overdose crisis in tribal communities.
Both programs reflect HHS’ commitment to evidence-based programs addressing opioid and stimulant misuse, as reflected in the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 proposed budget for HHS on drug-related programs and initiatives that totaled $21.1 billion across HHS. This budget included funding to expand access to substance use prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services; as well as funding to bolster the nation’s behavioral health infrastructure.
To learn more about the RCORP-Psychostimulant Support program and view the list of award recipients, visit HRSA’s RCORP-Psychostimulant Support program page.
To learn more about the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy, visit the HHS webpage.
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