The grant programs are aimed at supporting treatment services for pregnant and postpartum individuals and individuals involved in treatment drug courts.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the launch of 2 grant programs through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) intended to expand substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services.
These initiatives are specifically aimed at helping pregnant and postpartum individuals, as well as individuals involved in adult and family treatment drug courts.1 An estimated 5% of individuals consume 1 or more addictive substances during pregnancy, according to the National Institute on Drug Use,2 and the more than 4000 drug courts currently in operation are estimated to help reduce recidivism in participants by up to 40%.3
“Any large-scale funding initiative that targets SUDs, including opioid addiction in women at risk for addictions in general, and pregnant women in particular, is very much needed. The National Institutes of Health should be applauded for this initiative,” Tony P. George, MD, FRCPC, told Psychiatric Times®.
George is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto; a clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; a member of the Psychiatric Times Editorial Board; and co-principal editor of Neuropsychopharmacology, the official journal of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
With a total funding allocation of approximately $28 million, these grants align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to address the overdose epidemic and the mental health crisis in the United States, both of which are integral components of the President’s Unity Agenda for the nation.1
“The opportunities announced today have the potential to create lasting systemic changes that will create healthier families and communities,” said Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, HHS assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, and leader of SAMHSA, in a news release.
“The funding flexibilities will help pregnant and postpartum people to access care for SUDs and to receive family-based supports, helping both parents and babies. We have a wealth of evidence that the expansion of treatment court capacity enhances people’s access to SUD care, enables the courts to divert people from incarceration when appropriate, and increases individuals’ chances of reaching and maintaining recovery, while reducing recidivism.”
The first of the 2 grant funding opportunities announced is Grants to Expand Substance Use Disorder Treatment Capacity in Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts (SAMHSA Treatment Drug Courts; $24.4 million). This program aims to expand SUD treatment and recovery support services within existing drug courts, recognizing the importance of treatment over incarceration for individuals with SUD. It supports a continuum of care, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services, for individuals involved with the courts.1
The second is the State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women ($3.6 million). This initiative enhances flexibility in fund utilization to support family-based services for pregnant and postpartum individuals with a primary diagnosis of SUD, particularly opioid use disorders. It assists state agencies in addressing the continuum of SUD care, including outpatient services for pregnant and postpartum individuals, while promoting coordinated state systems managed by state substance agencies through innovative service delivery approaches and models.1
“This is a great opportunity for increasing access to SUD treatment, and hopefully states like Texas and others with very limited access for SUD patients will take advantage of these opportunities to expand their services, even if the durations of those services are time-limited for program-level expansion or for individual patients,” Thomas R. Kosten, MD, told Psychiatric Times.
Kosten is the Jay H. Waggoner Endowed Chair and co-founder at the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and a professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, pharmacology, and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is providing the funding, guidance, and resources needed to address the overdose crisis in America—and we will continue to support this critical work for as long as is necessary,” said Xavier Becerra, HHS secretary, in a news release. “This funding emphasizes our unrelenting efforts to enhance and expand treatment and support services for people in need, including pregnant and postpartum women, wherever and whenever they need them.”
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Note: This article was prepared with the assistance of ChatGPT.
1. Biden-Harris Administration announces $28 million in funding opportunities for grants expanding treatment services for substance use disorder. US Department of Health and Human Services. News release. February 2, 2024. Accessed February 5, 2024. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2024/02/02/biden-harris-administration-announces-28-million-funding-opportunities-grants-expanding-treatment-services-substance-use-disorder.html#:~:text=The%20grant%20opportunities%20total%20about,Unity%20Agenda%20for%20the%20nation
2. Substance use while pregnant and breastfeeding. National Institute on Drug Abuse. April 2020. Accessed February 5, 2024. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/substance-use-while-pregnant-breastfeeding#:~:text=Estimates%20suggest%20that%20about%205,one%20or%20more%20addictive%20substances.&text=Regular%20use%20of%20some%20drugs,goes%20through%20withdrawal%20upon%20birth
3. What are drug courts? National Treatment Court Resource Center. Accessed February 5, 2024. https://ntcrc.org/what-are-drug-courts/