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Federal Grant Helps Jump Start Opioid Addiction Services in Nevada

The mental health community is not jumping for joy at the 2017 legislative session, as many of their funding requests have been denied.

But last month, Governor Brian Sandoval accepted a $5.6 million federal grant to fight opioid addiction.

The grant is part of the 21 st Century Cures Act, which was passed by Congress in 2016.

Dr. Stephanie Woodard has a lot of titles, but one of them is Senior Advisor for the Dept. of Health and Human Services on Behavioral Health for the State of Nevada. She wrote the grant application.

“We plan to use these dollars to address both prevention and treatment efforts statewide," she told KNPR's State of Nevada.

She said 20 percent will go to prevention and 80 percent will go to treatment of people who are addicted. Right now, the state is doing a specific needs assessment to see where there are gaps in service. 

“So, we are working very closely with our state Medicaid agencies and our managed care organizations to make sure we’re not duplicating efforts but we are trying to close the gap on access to treatment,” Woodard said.

She said that there are more than 10 certified opioid treatment programs around the state and there is capacity in those programs, but many times people don't know how to access them.

“We’ll have prescribers at the primary care level who have identified an issue with an individual and want to get them into treatment and really don’t know how to send them there,” she said.

Woodard said the state will be modeling the 'hub-and-spoke system' pioneered in Vermont, which she says will help people get into treatment on a systems level. They will also be creating Mobile Recovery Outreach Teams. 

“Their purpose is to identify people who are at risk for opioid overdose and to address that risk,” she said. 

Dr. Stephanie Woodard, Senior Advisor for the Dept. of Health and Human Services on Behavioral Health for the State of Nevada

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)