WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the second installment of State Opioid Response (SOR) grants that includes a $29,122,692 grant to the Ohio Department of Health to address Ohio’s opioid epidemic. These funds will be used to expand access to addiction treatment that works, especially medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with appropriate social supports. The Ohio Department of Health will distribute these funds. 

“There isn’t a community in Ohio that hasn’t been touched by the addiction crisis, and we are doing all we can to fight it,” said Brown. “This much-needed investment will expand access to medication-assisted treatment that so many Ohioans rely on to help them in their recovery.” 

“Ohio is making progress to combat the opioid epidemic with overdose deaths down 21 percent for the first half of 2018. The State Opioid Response grant will help our state continue to lead efforts to prevent drug abuse, treat individuals who become addicted, and help people get on a path to long-term recovery,” said Portman. 

This investment is a part of HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) response grants. The grant program works to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, reducing unmet treatment needs, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder. 

Brown has been fighting to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for Ohioans, securing a provision in the addiction package signed into law in October to ensure all doctors who are authorized to prescribe MAT, like buprenorphione, can treat up to 275 patients and also eliminated the time limit under which authorized nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can prescribe MAT, to ensure continuity of care. The provision also allows authorized advanced practice nurses, such as certified nurse midwives and certified nurse specialists, to prescribe MAT for a limited, five-year period in states where they have prescribing authority.