The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is distributing an additional $4.3 million to organizations across Florida to provide “multifaceted support” for the treatment of opioid use disorder amidst the national opioid epidemic.
The main focus of this round of funding for opioid use disorder treatment is for Medication-Assisted Treatment for Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse (MAT-PDOA), also known as medically-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT programs provide a highly effective long-term treatment for opioid use disorder. MAT has been show to have lasting impact on brain function, by improving brain function and preventing relapse while simultaneously addressing the root causes of substance abuse through evidence-based behavioral therapies.
So far, SAMHSA has provided $123 million nationally to help healthcare providers and communities combat substance use disorder.
Legacy Healing Center, a SAMHSA-recognized addiction treatment center, says the funding will aid them and other centers in helping Floridians overcome opioid use disorder.
“The disease of addiction metastasizes in isolation. And we are especially vulnerable and susceptible to depression, anxiety, and relapse because of the isolation, because of the quarantine, because of the fear, because of the disconnection. [The COVID-19 pandemic] has had a tremendous impact and it’s affecting everybody,” said David Levin, Chief Clinical Officer and CEO of Legacy Healing Center.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, substance use disorder, and recovery is still being felt by individuals and communities across the despite. The state remains a hotbed in the opioid epidemic. The state saw a 59 percent uptick in drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, according to preliminary data released in the Project Opioid Tampa Bay report which labeled the drug problem a “the epidemic within the pandemic”.