WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin, D–W.Va., has announced West Virginia will receive $43,756,934 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration first-year funds of its two-year State Opioid Response and Tribal Opioid Response grant program.

According to a press release, Manchin fought for $3.8 billion in dedicated funding to combat the opioid epidemic in the FY20 spending bill, including 15% set-aside for states with the highest mortality rates, like West Virginia.

“With the highest overdose rate in the country, every single West Virginian has been impacted by the opioid epidemic. That’s why I fought to ensure this funding was distributed based on the overdose rate, not the population rate.  We have made great strides in fighting this epidemic but like every other aspect of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our ability to combat the opioid epidemic. This $43 million will support community-level resources for West Virginians in need of prevention, treatment and recovery support services.”

Sen. Manchin

The State Opioid Response Grants provide critical funding to states to ensure that they have the resources necessary to address the opioid epidemic from every angle: education and prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services, the release explains. Since 2018, this funding has included 15% set aside for the states with the highest overdose death rates. This round of State Opioid Response grants has been expanded to address stimulant misuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine.  In 2019, there were 70,980 reported deaths from overdoses, passing the high of 70,699 deaths in 2017, with West Virginia having the highest rates of death due to drug overdose, according to the release.

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R–W.Va., also released a statement on the funding.

According to a press release, the funding amount for each state is determined by several factors, including mortality rates—a change resulting from a measure Capito authored to prioritize funds for states hit hardest by the drug crisis. Without this language and based on previous formulas based on population, West Virginia would have received significantly less.

“The opioid crisis has affected lives and communities across the country, but some states—including West Virginia—have been hit harder than others. Through my work on the Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked hard to make sure West Virginia receives the support necessary to combat this crisis. The funding announced today includes a measure I authored with Senator Shaheen from New Hampshire to help ensure states like West Virginia dealing with the worst of the epidemic are receiving an appropriate share of the resources being provided to fight it. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has brought new challenges for those in recovery and living with addiction, resulting in rising overdoses and treatment needs, which makes these funds even more critical. Furthermore, these funds will be essential to help resume the progress we have made and continue to expand, while also strengthening our efforts to curb this epidemic. These resources are a critical component to support those suffering from addiction. Especially during the challenging and uncertain times like these, we must be there for our communities and our neighbors.”

Sen. Capito