Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Fight against Opiods Pittsburgh Left out of Drug Funding

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Fight against Opiods Pittsburgh Left out of Drug Funding

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - A day after a nearly unanimous U.S. Senate approved a package of measures addressing opioid abuse, the Obama administration on Friday released $94 million in funding for treatment centers nationwide, including $1.8 million for Pennsylvania.

However, none of that funding is headed to the Pittsburgh region, where heroin-related deaths have been skyrocketing.

In Pennsylvania, Allegheny County is second to Philadelphia in the number of heroin overdoses, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Some 217 people in the county died after using heroin last year, up from 157 the previous year, according to OverdoseFreePA, a coalition of Pennsylvania communities and organizations advocating for addiction recovery and prevention of drug abuse. In Westmoreland County, 56 people died of heroin overdoses last year, up from 36 the year before.

The funding announced Friday is headed to Berks Community Health Center in Reading, Community Health and Dental Care in Pottstown, Family First Health Corp. in York, Keystone Rural Health Center in Chambersburg, and Public Health Management Corp. in Philadelphia. Each will get between $325,000 and $380,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS spokesman Jonathan Gold said funding awards were made on a competitive basis and that all 1,300 health centers nationwide were encouraged to apply. He declined to say whether any health centers in southwestern Pennsylvania applied.

Mr. Gold pointed out that Pittsburgh already has several treatment centers that receive federal funding.

"Health centers treat some of the most at-risk patients in the country," said Jim Macrae, acting administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration. …

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