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HHF Receives $1.5M to Combat Opioid Crisis in Northwest Pennsylvania

HRSA Grant Press Conference

Competitive HRSA grants secured

If you’re in the mood for some good news, Hamot Health Foundation is pleased to oblige. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the awarding of a total $1.5 million in grants to HHF for use in the fight against opioid abuse. The grant brings vital focus to the plight of women and families. A recent joint press conference held by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, Hamot Health Foundation, and UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor delivered the promising news to local constituents.

In receiving a federal grant of this significance, HHF finds itself in exclusive company. Only three organizations throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania were selected by the Health and Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the $1 Million Implementation grant in 2020. Three Pennsylvania organizations received the $500,000 Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) grant and HHF was the only organization to receive both.

The grants target rural communities and emphasize a multipronged approach to disrupting the catastrophic effects of opioid abuse — prevention, treatment, recovery, and support. Responsibility for project direction goes to UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor.

Both the implementation and the NAS grant will build upon the important work already set into motion by a $200,000 HRSA planning grant presented to Hamot Health Foundation in July of 2019.

To understand the implications of an additional $1.5 million in resources during an opioid crisis, one only needs to consider the jagged effects on victims and their families. Opioid-related drug overdoses are responsible for robbing us of 130 Americans every day. In Pennsylvania, 65% of drug overdose deaths involve opioids. According to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the emergency by adding “particular stresses for many Americans struggling with substance use disorders.”

With secure funding, resources can be leveraged, including specialty programs and hiring of necessary staffing. Those at the epicenter of the opioid struggle can stride forward with purpose and embrace their “now” moment. Good news? Let’s try life-changing!

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