Vermont Receives Increased Opioid Funding Through New Leahy-Negotiated Omnibus Formula

. . . $4 million to fight opioid epidemic announced for Vermont thanks to new program and increased state minimum funding

Senator Patrick Leahy welcomed the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Monday announcement that Vermont will receive an allocation of $4 million in fiscal year 2018 to fight the opioid epidemic across the state.  The funding, a significant increase over past years, is part of a new State Opioid Response Grant program created as part of the Leahy-negotiated 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law this spring.  Vermont’s $4 million grant is a direct result of language that Leahy fought for in the bill guaranteeing each state at least $4 million to fight this deadly crisis.

Leahy said: “I fought hard to make sure that the omnibus spending act included this critical provision to make sure that small states like Vermont have the funds that they need to fight this deadly epidemic.  As I travel around the state, I have seen firsthand what opioids are doing to our close-knit Vermont communities and have worked hard with community leaders, healthcare providers and law enforcement to make sure that we are tackling this monumental challenge from all angles.  Thanks to Vermont’s innovative hub-and-spoke method and the efforts of communities across the state we are making progress, but more remains to be done.”

In April, Leahy visited Richmond to announce that his efforts negotiating the 2018 omnibus appropriations act had created the State Opioid Response Grant Program and its increased state minimum would result in double the resources this year for local programs to address this crisis.  Community leaders, healthcare providers and law enforcement stressed the impact that the funds announced today will have on local opioid response efforts.

The $4 million is in addition to $2 million that Vermont received in April as part of the final round of funding under the 21st Century Cures Act, which Leahy voted for and became law in 2016. The funding announced today is part of $6 billion in new funding over 2 years, which Leahy and other Congressional Democrats secured in February’s bipartisan budget deal, to be distributed nationwide to strengthen responses to the opioid epidemic across many fronts, including prevention, treatment, enforcement and support for those in recovery.  Leahy, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in negotiating the funding framework to fulfill this promise that included the state minimum.

The State of Vermont will now go through an application process to ensure that its spend plan for the $4 million complies with program guidelines. SAMHSA expects the funds will be released to states in September.

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