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Shaheen, Hassan & Shea-Porter Announce $500K To Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorder in Seacoast

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced $502,729 in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will fund Greater Seacoast Community Health’s efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment for vulnerable populations in Somersworth and the Seacoast region.

“Expanding medication-assisted treatment for Granite Staters struggling with substance use disorder is a significant step to strengthen our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “This funding will provide critical resources to Greater Seacoast Community Health, increasing treatment options for those who need it most. We need every tool at our disposal to turn the tide of the opioid crisis, so I’m very pleased by these additional grants to help our health care providers. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to fight for more federal support for Granite Staters on the frontlines of this epidemic.”

“Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment and it is a critical part of the comprehensive approach that we need to continue implementing to curb the deadly tide of the opioid crisis,” said Hassan. “This federal grant will support those efforts by expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for some of our most vulnerable Granite Staters under the care of Greater Seacoast Community Health. I’ll keep fighting to secure additional resources so that those seeking treatment have access to the care they need to get their lives back on track.”

“We know that to turn the tide in the deadly opioid epidemic, individuals with substance use disorder need access to evidence-based treatment options, and that’s what this funding will support,” said Shea-Porter. “Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is critical in our state’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic, and we rely on organizations like Greater Seacoast Community Health to administer MAT programs. This funding was made available through the hard work of the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, and I am pleased to see that Greater Seacoast Community Health will receive more of the resources it needs to serve our communities. Congratulations to Greater Seacoast Community Health, and I thank them for the incredible work they do to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”

“We are grateful to the delegation for this funding as it makes a big impact on our capacity to create more access to much needed treatment and recovery services,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This level of support means that we can expand our street outreach efforts to more of the homeless population, pregnant woman and women with dependent children, veterans, people struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and people involved with the criminal justice system.

Greater Seacoast Community Health was established when the Goodwin Community Health Center and Families First merged in January, 2018. The organization of Federally Qualified Health Centers serves 16,500 patients at clinics in Somersworth, Portsmouth, and Seabrook, providing primary care, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, MAT, and intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorder.  

As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The congressional delegation led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to a substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire.

Last week, Senate and House negotiators announced the final funding legislation of the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which includes an extension of equivalent funding for opioid response efforts secured in the omnibus funding bill for FY 2018. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The legislation also ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY 2019.