Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed a series of relief bills that have provided billions of dollars in emergency funding for substance use and mental health programs. On May 18, 2021, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the allocation of an additional $1.5 billion in emergency funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant for states and territories. These funds were made available by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in March.
The SAPT Block Grant provides infrastructure support for public-funded facilities. Each state may distribute funds to local government entities, administrative service organizations, and prevention and treatment service providers in accordance with each state’s plan. The SAPT Block Grant system of selection and payments are well established with a distribution plan in place.
Since states have flexibility to implement their own distribution plans, NAADAC recommends that interested entities stay engaged with their state agencies to determine current and future funding opportunities related to emergency COVID-19 funding. SAMHSA has detailed information on its website to highlight where funds are being awarded.
NAADAC is available to assist our Affiliates in working with their Single State Authority (SSA), the state level authority that oversees the SAPT Block Grant. Those of you who are treatment owners, directors and clinical supervisors will want to connect with your SSA and attend their regular meetings to learn the direction your state is heading regarding the use of this unprecedented funding. You may want to meet with your SSA or others in your state authority’s office to discuss ways you can assist in program development.
NAADAC is working at the national level to provide input, make proposals, and advocate that these additional funding dollars not be too restricted in specific categories of funding, such as opioid services, as each state has its own priorities and needs related to other drugs of use. However, all the funds need to be used for SUD related services, including building infrastructure and workforce programs.
This has been a historic time for public recognition of SUD, as well as new federal investments to increase access to prevention and treatment services. President Biden will release his full fiscal year 2022 budget in the coming days, and NAADAC is working with our stakeholder partners to ensure the administration continues to propose significant investments to expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those impacted by addiction.