Alabama set to receive $16 million to help battle worsening opioid epidemic

Alabama getting $16M to fight opioid crisis
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:26 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama is about to get more help in the fight against the opioid epidemic. The government is giving $16 million to the Alabama Department of Mental Health and it will be up to them to determine how to use the funds.

Jefferson County Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Traffanstedt is hopeful Jefferson County sees some of the funding. In Jefferson County alone, there were 236 deaths in 2019, 302 in 2020, and 401 in 2021.

“It is worse than it has ever been before,” said Dr. Traffanstedt. “We are on track to exceed 2021 numbers this year.”

“We have had an opioid crisis going on for a number of years, but in the last two years there has been a dramatic shift. That shift is related to the introduction of illicitly manufactured fentanyl into all drugs that are available for purchase in Jefferson County,” said Dr. Traffanstedt.

Which is why she expects some of the money to go towards raising awareness regarding treatment for those suffering with an addiction.

“Treatment and recovery resources, but also availability of Naloxone, fentanyl test strips, all the harm reduction tools that we have in our tool box to try and prevent overdoses,” said Dr. Traffanstedt.

No matter what the money is used for, Dr. Traffanstedt is happy additional funding is headed to the state.

“Just thankful. We know that the Alabama Department of Mental Health will put this money to good use and will put it in the hands of people at the level that they need resources. So this won’t be administrative costs or government money this will be money that goes into the hands of people who needs treatment of substitute resources in our state,” said Dr. Traffanstedt.

You can sign up to receive free naloxone medication from the health department by clicking here.

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