One of the ways the government and the society are trying to address the opioid overdose and addiction crisis is by channeling financial resources that people can use in the efforts to help people that have Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). Currently, there are numerous grants for opioid crisis, and anyone who needs or deserves this money is encouraged to come forward and apply.
Despite the fact that grants for opioid crisis are meant for something positive that addresses an important problem the country is facing right now, it is also important to discuss the key challenges related to the presence and use of the money earmarked for the opioid crisis.
Sources of Grant Money
The opportunity to be awarded grant money is available now thanks to numerous government and non-government organization channels including the following:
- Department of Treasury’s Office of Economic Policy
- Department of Health and Human Services (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- Administration for Children and Families
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Labor (via Employment and Training Administration or ETA)
- Department of Justice (via Bureau of Justice Assistance and Office of Justice Programs)
- Aetna Foundation
- Bloomberg Philanthropies
- Macy Foundation
Focus and Priority
Without a doubt, grants for opioid crisis should benefit individuals with OUD first and foremost. However, it is important to remind family members of individuals with OUD applying for a grant or any related financial assistance related to the opioid crisis that the government or any-grant giving body will not just simply give people money and hope they spend it in relation to becoming better and overcoming their OUD because this presents many problems.
First, without a systematic regulation of the money allotted to help individuals affected by the opioid crisis, it would be easy for people battling an addiction to use the money to buy more drugs, just as it would be easy for other recipients of grant money to use it for other things.
Grants are given so that institutions and organizations helping in the effort to fight the opioid crisis have financial means to fund their projects, programs, and other initiatives that can help stop the problem of the opioid crisis, help individuals afflicted with OUD, keep them from returning to their addiction, help families and communities cope, and establish a sustainable system that deters the onset of OUD and provides immediate assistance as soon as individuals with OUD are identified.
Here is an important question that affects the focus and priority of grant money: should it be limited to this particular group (person with OUD and their family and kin, community) and the task of treating, rehabilitating, and keeping the people free and away from opioids?
It is important for stakeholders to understand that part of the grant money for the opioid crisis should be spent on an important endeavor that is meant to help fight this crisis from a bigger and larger perspective: research.
The Role and Importance of Research in Fighting the Opioid Crisis
While it is important that grant money is available so that the cost for the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with OUD is funded allowing these people to get better and return to becoming productive members of the citizenry. It is also crucial to give the academe part of the grant money because it plays an important role in fighting the opioid overdose and addiction crisis using science and research. Giving everyone a prescription medication bag is good to help safeguard narcotics but this should be supplemented with other strategies.
There is no question that health care professionals working on individuals with OUD are sufficiently equipped with knowledge and know-how essential in becoming effective agents of intervention. It is also important to acknowledge that what we know so far regarding opioid addiction, overdose, and related matters is only the tip of the iceberg. This is a very complex matter involving humans and substance use and the landscape of drug addiction is constantly changing and the only way to have a holistic, effective, and long-lasting successful approach to fighting this crisis is by formulating effective strategies based on research.
Even as data shows misuse of opioids is decreasing, there is still over 2.1 million people addicted to it. Opioid overdose is still the leading cause of death for people under 50. Despites measures to curb addiction, more people are succumbing to opioids.
Science and research will give us a better fighting chance to win the war against opioid overdose and addiction in the near future. Without any new information, we will not be able to adapt our strategies. Without research data, the opioid crisis will not be eradicated. This means more lives will be destroyed, a growing economic cost related to this unresolved problem. We should make sure that spending results in making a decisive or significant dent in the crisis.
We should laud the efforts of stakeholders, opinion leaders, pressure groups, government officials, independent groups who are all working to fight the opioid crisis and secure the resources needed for this battle. It is important to look long-term; sure, use some of the grant money to build centers and sustain rehabilitation programs and conduct community education and communication initiatives. It is also important to include research in the bigger picture. Without science and research, we are trapped in the same cycle; we are not exploring the opportunities that can potentially unlock new knowledge on how to better approach the fight against opioid overdose and addiction. New strategies may garner better, more effective, and long-lasting results.