Scott Tipton: Committed to fighting opioid abuse |

Scott Tipton: Committed to fighting opioid abuse

Scott Tipton/For Steamboat Today

I recently had the opportunity visit Pueblo and Alamosa to share updates on the federal response to the opioid abuse epidemic. In Pueblo, I spoke with health care providers from the Pueblo Community Health Center about the impact prescription drug and heroin abuse is having on mothers and infants, and at a roundtable discussion in Alamosa, I received updates from law enforcement officials and health care professionals about the county's response to the epidemic.

The opioid abuse epidemic impacting so many communities across the United States is a public health crisis, and Congress has been working to make sure communities have the resources they need to develop and sustain prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

In 2016, Congress passed and the president signed the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law. Both bills authorized programs to provide states with more resources to expand opioid abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that the state of Colorado would receive a $7.8 million grant through the 21st Century Cures Act to support opioid prevention, treatment and recovery services in our state. I know Colorado's health care providers, law enforcement officers, educators and community support groups are committed to saving lives and bringing an end to prescription drug and heroin abuse, and this grant will be extremely helpful for our state.

In addition to the 21st Century Cures grant, HHS also recently announced two new grant opportunities that are a result of the CARA. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is now accepting applications for the CARA State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Building Communities of Recovery program.

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Funding for the state pilot grant program has been set at $3.3 million, and single state agencies for substance abuse are eligible to apply. Total anticipated available funding for the Building Communities of Recovery program has been set at $2.6 million, and I hope that recovery community organizations in Colorado will consider applying. Both applications are due July 3.

The most common feedback I have received from the people who on the frontlines of the fight against opioid abuse is that they don't have the resources they need to combat the epidemic effectively, especially in rural communities. I know we still have a long way to go in this fight, but I am hopeful the resources made available through the CARA and 21st Century Cures Act will bring much needed support to communities in Colorado.

U.S. Rep. Scott R. Tipton represents Colorado's 3rd District.

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