Missouri awarded $10 million grant to fight opioid epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Wednesday, Sen. Roy Blunt announced that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration had awarded Missouri a $10 million opioid crisis grant.

“The opioid epidemic is destroying families and communities across the country, and Missouri is no exception,” said Blunt. “In 2015, more than 1,000 Missourians died from a lethal drug overdose... This grant will expand access to treatment, recovery, and prevention programs, and strengthen our state’s ability to combat this growing epidemic.”

According to Blunt's camp, he secured the grant in the short-term government funding bill signed into law in December. The program was authorized under the Cures Act and was signed into law last year.

The Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) has reported opioid-related deaths across the country have quadrupled since 1999.

In Missouri alone, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said accidental drug poisoning deaths involving one opioid in particular, heroin, had increased from 18 in 2001 to 338 in 2014.

MHA also found a 538 percent increase in the number of babies born addicted to opioids in the last ten years.

Editor's Note: ABC 17 News is currently working on several special reports looking at all sides of the state's opioid epidemic. You can catch the first report "Emergency OD: Answering the Call," Thursday, April 27 on ABC 17 News at 10 on KMIZ. Click here to watch a preview.

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