WASHINGTON – Wisconsin will receive more than $16 million in federal grant money to help people struggling with substance abuse and further address the opioid epidemic, the White House announced Friday.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is expected to receive $16.9 million as part of the $1.5 billion package of grants to states and tribal communities. Six of the state's tribal nations will receive about $1.8 million of their own to combat the crisis.
The funding is part of a federal program that aims to increase access to treatment for substance abuse, make medications like naloxone more readily available and expand access to recovery support services.
Some of the funding, distributed through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will also go toward overdose education and peer support services, according to the White House.
It comes as President Joe Biden declared September National Recovery Month.
"President Biden recognizes the devastating impact the overdose epidemic has had on this nation — reaching large cities, small towns, tribal lands, and every community in between," a statement from the White House read. "That’s why in his first State of the Union, President Biden made beating the opioid crisis a key pillar of his Unity Agenda."
The nationwide opioid crisis has worsened in recent years, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 107,622 people died from overdoses in the U.S. in 2021 — an increase of about 15% from 2020, which also saw more deaths than the previous year.
In addition to the more than $16 million heading to the state's health department, the following tribal communities will receive funds:
The Sokaogon Chippewa Community in Crandon will get $150,000.
The Oneida Nation will get $475,000.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Bowler will get $238,701.
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Government in Hayward will get $249,900.
The St. Croix Chippewa Indians in Webster will get $500,000.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community will get $249,991.
A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the majority of the new funding will go toward existing projects, including those aimed at increasing access to medications to treat opioid use disorder.
The new funds will be used through September 2024.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin, tribes to receive nearly $19 million to combat opioids