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Gov. Malloy and Congressional Delegation Announce $3.1 Million Federal Grant for Connecticut's Efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis Among Youth

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that the state is receiving a $3.1 million federal grant to expand efforts combatting the prescription opioid crisis, particularly helping to provide youth and their families access to long-term substance use treatment that focuses on recovery.

“Opioid addiction and prescription drug misuse is a disease that is impacting nearly every community and people of every background,” Governor Malloy said. “Children and young adults battling substance use need sustained services for recovery to take hold because all the evidence shows relapses are common. This grant will enable us to develop much needed, long-term treatment to keep people on a road to recovery and support lasting success.”

“This grant will improve access to long-term treatment and recovery services for youth fighting to overcome substance use and mental health disorders,” Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. “The opioid crisis has made a grave impact on our communities, and unfortunately, children and young adults have not been spared. We’ve heard from families, health care providers, and those recovering from addiction – one-time, short-term treatment is simply not enough. These federal dollars will go towards the development of more sustainable, long-term treatment to help those struggling get on the right path towards recovery.”

The funding is being awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will be used by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to further the efforts of the ASSERT Project (Access, Screening and Engagement Recovery Support and Treatment), which is helping to close a critical gap in services for adolescents ages 12 through 17 and transitional age youth ages 18 through 21. In the first year of the four-year grant, recovery services will be offered to adolescents, young adults, and their families in Hartford, Norwich, New London, New Britain, and Waterbury. The program will be expanded in the second year to include Bridgeport and New Haven.

“I want to thank our federal partners for supporting Connecticut’s work on opioids,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “While we’ve greatly improved prevention and treatment, we are still losing lives to overdose and addiction. For young people particularly, it’s critical that we have treatment programs available to keep them on track after recovery. Their ages make them among the most unsuspecting victims, and we cannot afford to give up the next generation to addiction and dependence.”

Through the project, treatment services will last on average six months and access to recovery support will last on average a full year. Currently, youth only have access to treatment services. ASSERT will help as many as 192 youth each year and is expected to serve many more through the development of recovery supports for youth across the state.

“The ASSERT Project will focus on youth at risk of and/or with opioid use disorders, including access to medication-assisted treatment in the community,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said. “This will bring a public-health approach to the opioid crisis by viewing substance use disorders as a condition that needs ongoing management and support, including outreach and recovery management supports. The project is the result of a strong and broad partnership that included not just DCF and DMHAS, but also Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch, the State Department of Education, and families and youth themselves.”

“This grant and the project it funds are an outgrowth of an important discussion about what families really need to effect lasting solutions to real-life struggles in battling substance use,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “Youth involved in substance use need more than a one-time treatment – they need ongoing support, and this program will connect children and young adults with community supports to help them achieve sustained recovery.”

Juliet Manalan
Communications Director
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman
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