The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is set to distribute an additional $4.3 million to organizations across Florida to provide “multifaceted support” for the treatment of opioid use disorder amidst the national opioid epidemic. So far, SAMHSA has provided $123 million nationally to help healthcare providers and communities combat substance use disorder.
The main focus of this round of funding for opioid use disorder treatment is for Medication-Assisted Treatment for Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse (MAT-PDOA), also known as medically-assisted treatment (MAT).
MAT programs provide a highly effective long-term treatment for opioid use disorder. MAT can have a lasting impact on brain function, by improving brain function and preventing relapse while simultaneously addressing the root causes of substance abuse through evidence-based behavioral therapies.
Florida remains a hotbed in the opioid epidemic. The state saw an alarming 59 percent increase in drug overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, according to preliminary data released in the Project Opioid Tampa Bay report which called the opioid problem in Florida “the epidemic within the pandemic”.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, substance use disorder, and recovery is still being felt by individuals and communities across Florida. The government funding for effective treatment for opioid use disorder in Florida aims to help offset the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on addiction rates and to continue providing support to those suffering from opioid use disorder.
David Levin, Chief Clinical Officer and CEO of Legacy Healing Center which operates in Florida and New Jersey, commented on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on addiction. “The disease of addiction metastasizes in isolation. And we are especially vulnerable and susceptible to depression, anxiety, and relapse because of the isolation, because of the quarantine, because of the fear, because of the disconnection. [The COVID-19 pandemic] has had a tremendous impact and it’s affecting everybody,” he said.
Legacy Healing Center, a SAMHSA-recognized addiction treatment center, provides MAT programs and holistic treatment models that can help a person out of addiction and mental health disorders. With the new round of funding for treatment, the professional help Floridians need to overcome opioid use disorder is now more available than ever.
Anyone struggling with substance abuse can speak to a treatment specialist at any time by calling (888) 534-2295.