On August 27th the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the distribution of funds for the first year of the FY 2020 State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. California will receive $105 million per year for two years, for a total of $210 million.
The funds were announced at an important time, as California and other states have seen an increase in overdoses and barriers to services due to COVID-19. As fentanyl has become more prevalent in California, the state has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2019 and 2020. At the same time, cities, counties, and treatment providers are reporting decreases in the number of individuals seeking care, as well as challenges to providing harm reduction and recovery support services due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.
The grant will fund over two dozen projects, many continued from the prior FY 2018 SOR and State Targeted Response (STR) grants. Major efforts underway in California include:
- CA Bridge: CA Bridge is developing hospitals and emergency rooms into primary access points for the treatment of substance use disorder, by connecting individuals to medication for opioid use disorder (OUD) in the emergency room, followed by ongoing care in the community.
- Hub & Spoke System: A statewide program expanding access to medications for addiction treatment, through regional narcotic treatment program “Hubs,” that serve as experts in treating OUD as well as smaller office-based “Spokes” and provide ongoing care and maintenance treatment.
- MAT in County Criminal Justice: A project working with 29 counties in California to expand access to at least two forms of medication for OUD in county jails, as well as working with probation, parole and drug courts to create a supportive system for individuals in treatment for substance use disorder.
- Tribal MAT Project: The Tribal MAT Project is designed to meet the specific OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery needs of California’s Tribal and Urban Indian communities. The project includes naloxone distribution and training, local tribal opioid coalitions, and training initiatives for providers offering services in tribal areas, among other culturally informed prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.
For a full list of California’s MAT Expansion Projects, see the Projects page.