University of Alabama and rural communities receive federal funding to combat opioid crisis
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) last week announced $1.45 million in funding aimed at bolstering rural communities in Alabama’s fight against the overdose risk associated with fentanyl and other opioids.
$600,000 of the $1.45 million will go to two organizations to help address “immediate needs in rural areas by improving access to, capacity for, and sustainability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services for substance use disorder,” according to the HHS website.
Altapointe Health Systems in Mobile will receive half, $300,000, and T.E.A.R.S. (Teens Empowerment Awareness with Resolutions) will receive the remaining $300,000.
The University of Alabama received $845,464 to establish and grow behavioral healthcare services for children and teenagers aged 5-17 residing in rural areas, with the aim of preventing substance misuse.
Drug overdose deaths increased in the nation from 6.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2001 to 32.4 per 100,000 people in 2021, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Vital Statistics System data.
In 2017, Alabama averaged 17.1 deaths per 100,000 people from drug-related overdoses, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. In some counties, like Escambia and Dekalb, the rate was near 40 deaths per 100,000.