Louisiana to receive $34.5M in grant money to fight opioid epidemic

Louisiana News

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Louisiana Department of Health announces the confirmation of an award for the second phase of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Louisiana State Opioid Response 2.0 Program (LaSOR 2.0).

The state health department says the grant will allow the state to continue to build on the solid framework put in place by the State Targeted Response Grant that started in 2017 and ran through April 2020. The new grant funds will be available from September 30, 2020 through September 29, 2022.

According to the news release the grant will allow the state to keep addressing the needs of people facing the challenges of opioid and stimulant use or misuse. This grant money will allow the state to enhance life outcomes, reduce crime, and reoffending.

With a budget of over $17 million for each of the two years, the priority populations served by the grant will be:

  • The under- and uninsured
  • The criminal justice population
  • Tribes
  • Pregnant women or women with infants experiencing neonatal opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • People who inject drugs
  • Colleges and universities, and School age children (for prevention).

The goals of LaSOR 2.0 include: 

  • Identify and address needs of state and federally-recognized tribes
  •  Decrease opioid and stimulant overdose death rates by increasing access to treatment services for the under- and uninsured with OUD or SUM
  • Increase access to community recovery support services for patients with OUD or SUM
  • Increase prevention, intervention and education activities for opioid and stimulant use, misuse and abuse 
  • Provide treatment, transition and referral for patients re-entering communities from criminal justice settings
  • Increase access to harm reduction strategies and linkage to HIV and viral hepatitis testing for priority populations.

Services offered under LaSOR 2.0

LaSOR 2.0 will provide a variety of services for 3,095 unduplicated individuals (1,355 in year one and 1,740 in year two).

  • LaSOR 2.0 will expand and enhance the existing hub and spoke model, with Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) serving as hubs and Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) providers serving as spokes.
  • OBOT providers will receive support from Spoke Care Teams, education and consultation from Tulane University through academic detailing and Project ECHO, and psychiatric consults from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
  • The Mother-Baby Substance Exposure Initiative (MBSEI) will provide five birthing facilities with a patient navigator to connect identified women with treatment, resources and social support as needed.
  • Prevention and intervention strategies include education through the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Module of Life Skills Training, the Opioid Module of Project Alert and Generation Rx; safe storage and proper disposal of prescription medications; distribution of Narcan Kits to institutions of higher education, first responders, jails, and federally qualified health centers; faith-based community partnerships; and a media campaign. 
  • OBH will host webinars and on-site trainings for healthcare professionals on opioid use, stimulant use and non-drug alternatives to pain management. OBH will hold peer trainings and webinars for institutions of higher education. OUD in college students will be addressed through collegiate recovery programs and an evidence-based substance use screening and assessment tool for university health centers.
  • Community recovery support strategies include expansion of Oxford Houses statewide; Crisis Outreach Mobile Teams that will provide outreach services and mobile peer recovery services; placement of peer recovery support specialists in hospital emergency departments; and grief groups for families and loved ones who experienced a loss due to an opioid overdose. 
  • A pre-release opioid treatment program will be expanded in correction facilities to address OUD and SUM in the criminal justice population. 
  • Health coordinators will be provided to syringe service programs to expand harm reduction strategies and linkages to hepatitis C and HIV testing. 
  • The needs of state- and federally-recognized tribes will be identified through a thorough needs assessment and addressed through strategy implementation. 

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