MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — For those on the front lines of the opioid epidemic — like Dr. J. Craig Allen, who is the medical director at Rushford in Meriden — dealing with the scourge of addiction seems a never-ending battle. Federal grant money is always needed and welcome to try and head off addiction, or at least hold the line.
“I think this is a huge deal. This is going to be the wind in our sails,” Allen said. “The funding is designed to help with prevention. Early education to try to prevent people from developing any of these problems with opioids and other substances.”
The federal grant money is going to all 50 states. Nearly 900 people died last year in Connecticut alone from opioid-related overdoses. Connecticut is set to receive 5.5 million.
“We have an education issue, we have a detox issue, a longer treatment issue,” Governor Malloy said. “And I suspect the money will augment all of those.”
The money is awarded from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Locally it will be allocated through the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“The goal there is to identify people either before they develop problems or earlier stages if they may develop problems and it’s easier to intervene then,” Allen said.
The money will be allocated to Connecticut over the next two years.