10.15.18

Leahy Announces $525,000 Federal Grant To Boost Howard Center’s “Safe Recovery” Program To Fight Opioid Abuse

Senator Patrick Leahy Monday announced that a $525,000 federal grant will be awarded to the Howard Center’s Safe Recovery Program, so that those in immediate need of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder will have access to buprenorphine on the same day they request it.  Leahy was joined for the announcement by Bob Bick, Howard Center’s Chief Executive Officer; Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan; Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Safe Recovery Program Coordinator Grace Keller.

Leahy, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, played a crucial role in supporting federal funding for the project and in making the opioid crisis a high priority in several Appropriations bills.  Leahy was a lead negotiator in the bipartisan budget agreement reached in February, which set aside $6 billion in new funding over two years to fund the fight against the opioid crisis and support mental health initiatives, making the funding announced Monday possible.  Leahy’s efforts also made possible other Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants to Vermont.

With the grant, the Safe Recovery Program will expand services to provide clients with buprenorphine (also known by its brand name Suboxone) until they are successfully integrated into the traditional hub and spoke method pioneered in Vermont.  Same-day treatment is critical to stemming the opioid epidemic, as there may only be a short window when someone who is struggling is receptive to beginning treatment.  The Safe Recovery Program also provides a variety of other important services, including HIV and Hepatitis C testing, syringe exchange, free Narcan overdose reversal kits, fentanyl testing strips and drug treatment counseling.

Leahy said:  “This grant will fulfill a critical need, putting essential treatment medication in the hands of those who need it most – and when they need it most.  We often only have one chance to break the cycle of addiction and get people the treatment that they need.  Every Vermont family and every Vermont community has felt the scourge of this disease and I pledge to continue to secure resources that Vermont needs for real solutions to this problem.”

Howard CEO Bick said:  “Howard Center is so very pleased to have the continuing support of Senator Leahy, and that SAMHSA has seen the value of our proposal to accelerate access to treatment as another important initiative in Vermont’s efforts to reduce the pain and suffering for those who are struggling with an addiction to opiates.”  With over 5,000 clients, Safe Recovery has access to the largest population of active drug users in the state, reaching the highest risk and hardest-to-serve individuals.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693