A committee of the Virginia Opioid Abatement Authority voted Friday to recommend approval of more than $23 million in awards to 76 cities and counties for projects aimed at helping those with opioid-use disorder, including $8.72 million to projects in Southwest and Southside.
When approved, the vote will represent the first major allocation of awards by the authority since Virginia received its first set of national settlement payments from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids last year, according to a news release from the authority.
The authority was created by the General Assembly in 2021 to administer the Opioid Abatement Fund.
The payments from the various settling companies are expected to continue for at least 16 more years and will exceed $1 billion in total funding; 55% of it, about $550 million, will be controlled by the authority.
The authority’s mission is to abate and remediate the state’s opioid epidemic. It began accepting applications for its first round of grants in January.
The full board of directors of the authority will conduct a public meeting June 23 to consider public comments before voting on the recommended grant awards, the release states.
State Sen. Todd Pillion, R-Washington County, who chairs the authority, noted that the authority’s board has moved quickly to make awards.
“This money is needed urgently across the state to save lives,” he said in the release. “The OAA carefully reviewed every application to make sure 100% of these funds are going to combat the addiction crisis that is stealing lives across Virginia.”
The proposed awards include grants to 13 individual cities or counties and 26 grants to partnerships in which multiple localities have committed to a regional approach. Projects vary based on the identified needs of each community and range from expansion of medication-assisted treatment programs to recovery housing and inpatient services, the release states.
The grants and projects recommended for approval in Southwest and Southside counties and cities were:
Appomattox County: $18,091 to initiate a medication lock box program, including purchasing the boxes and educational materials and providing the boxes free to those in need.
Galax: $18,908 to launch the “Too Good for Drugs” prevention education program, enhance the recovery court, offer naloxone training and distribution through the community services board, and assist nonprofits with peer-led recovery programs.
Roanoke: $252,867 for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training, a peer recovery specialist for the sheriff’s office and adult detention center, and xylazine test strips and a spectrometer for prevention and harm reduction.
Buena Vista: $230,142 for a partnership that includes Buena Vista, Rockbridge County and Lexington to support the first recovery residence in the area, HOPE House Recovery Home.
Grayson County: $260,199 for a partnership, including Grayson and Carroll counties and Galax, to enhance the existing recovery court.
Lynchburg: $1.94 million for a partnership that includes Lynchburg and Campbell County to fund a crisis receiving center.
Martinsville: $20,000 for a partnership that includes Martinsville and Henry County to study and identify community-based options for most effective long-term use of funds for abatement.
Montgomery County: $3.39 million for a partnership that includes Montgomery, Giles, Floyd and Pulaski counties and Radford for the New River Valley Ecosystem of Recovery, with expansion of inpatient treatment. medication for opioid-use disorders, enhancement of transportation, the addition of recovery court clinicians, expansion of the recovery court program, expansion of law enforcement critical engagement integrating education, mobile treatment and harm reduction, trauma-informed care, ACEs prevention programming and other prevention/education engagement/outreach, and assessment of supportive housing and adolescent inpatient treatment models to support families.
Roanoke: $500,000 for a partnership with Roanoke and Roanoke County to support and expand the Roanoke Valley Collective Response Recovery Ecosystem.
Smyth County: $1 million for a partnership that includes Smyth, Bland, Carroll, Grayson and Wythe counties and Galax to expand office-based opioid treatment services and medication for opioid-use disorders and assist in providing region-wide transitional recovery housing.
Washington County: $745,000 for a partnership that includes Washington County and Bristol to purchase the Mended Women residential treatment center for women in Abingdon.
Wise County: $346,222 for a partnership that includes Wise, Lee and Scott counties and Norton to fund an intensive outpatient treatment facility for youth.