Health

The Ohio Valley has received nearly $60 million in additional federal funds to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Kentucky received $16,431,436, Ohio $29,122,692 and West Virginia $14,630,361.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funds as a supplement to the first-year State Opioid Response, or SOR, grant awards.

“This funding will expand access to treatment that works, especially to medication-assisted treatment with appropriate social supports,” according to an HHS press release.

Nationally, the agency disbursed $487 million as part of the supplement.

Members of Congress throughout the region praised the additional funding Thursday.

“The State Opioid Response grant will help our state continue to lead efforts to prevent drug abuse, treat individuals who become addicted, and help people get on a path to long-term recovery,” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman wrote in a joint statement with Ohio’s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

HHS officials said an additional $933 million will be available later this year as part of the SOR grant program’s second-year awards.

The grant was created to help areas like the Ohio Valley, which leads the nation in drug overdose deaths but lacks available addiction treatment facilities in rural places.

Based at WOUB in Athens, OH, Aaron Payne covers economic transition and the addiction crisis.