FILE - Opioid Crisis Overdose Antidote

Naloxone, a medication that's used to treat opioid overdoses 

(The Center Square) – Grants from the federal Department of Health & Human Services will provide millions of dollars for Pennsylvania organizations focused on addiction treatment and overdose prevention.

Of the roughly $79 million in grants, HHS will send $1.6 million to three projects in Pennsylvania and an unspecified amount to three others in the commonwealth.

Gaudenzia, Inc. of Norristown is set to receive $750,000 to offer medication-assisted treatment for those with an opioid use disorder in the central counties of northern Pennsylvania. Over five years, the project aims to serve 400 adults. 

“The project will place special emphasis on recruiting racial and ethnic underrepresented adults who are often isolated in rural counties in central PA to reduce the impact of behavioral health problems and disparities,” the project description noted.

It will target adults reentering the community from prison or jail, along with veterans, the homeless, those who have experienced an overdose in the past, pregnant women, and LGBT+ individuals, among others.

Wellspan Health of York will receive a similar grant for $668,000 to serve 2,140 people over five years.

Gaudenzia will also receive a grant, for an unspecified amount, to provide “evidence-based substance use disorder treatment” and harm reduction services to 150 pregnant and postpartum women in rural Pennsylvania. It will also offer assistance to children and family members of postpartum women.

The Geisinger Clinic of Danville will receive an unspecified amount to treat mothers and babies with opioid use disorder in rural western Pennsylvania counties. They expect to serve about 400 mothers and 1,100 family members in giving them access to health care and drug addiction recovery services.

The grants will also be used to expand the number of health providers to treat drug-related issues.

The University of Pittsburgh will receive $245,000 for its Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Training Program. The university will use the funds to train 420 medical students in MOUD treatment.

The Lancaster County Drug and Alcohol Commission will also receive a grant to train first responders for trauma-informed education and training.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest overdose fatalities nationwide, with more than 5,400 residents dying of an overdose in 2021.

Staff Reporter

Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.