WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to improve access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment and address behavioral health challenges, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today announced that Rhode Island will receive $11,453,580 to support mental health services and substance use disorder needs.  Rhode Island will receive $5,302,664 in supplemental funding from the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) Program to provide comprehensive community mental health services and address needs and gaps in existing treatment services for those with serious mental illness.  The state is also being awarded $6,150,916 from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program (SABG) to help the state plan, implement, and evaluate activities to prevent, treat, and help more people recover from substance use disorder. 

This federal funding will flow to Rhode Island as a result of a $1.5 billion provision included in the American Rescue Plan, which Rhode Island’s entire Congressional delegation supported.  The federal funds will be distributed through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“We’ve got to improve access to addiction treatment and mental health care and help people recover.  Fentanyl, heroin, and other illicit and highly addictive opioids are poisoning our communities and ruining lives.  There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated this crisis.  This federal funding will help more Rhode Islanders in need.  It will target assistance and support to high-risk individuals and hard-hit communities.  It will help save lives by delivering integrated addiction treatment and mental health programs,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

The MHBG program supports states’ efforts to provide comprehensive community mental health care services and address gaps in existing treatment services for those with serious mental illness.

The SABG program supports states’ efforts to evaluate and implement plans to prevent, treat, and support recovery for people suffering from substance use disorders. This federal funding makes additional investments in existing treatment and recovery infrastructure, and provides support for local providers to address unique on-the-ground needs of substance use disorder services.

The new wave of federal aid comes on top of an $8 million two-year federal grant awarded to Thrive Behavioral Health, Inc. and Newport Mental Health last May.  That federal funding is being used to increase access to and improve the quality of community mental health and substance use disorder treatment services in Rhode Island by expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). The mission of CCBHCs is to provide person- and family-centered integrated services and in so doing, improve the quality of life of communities.

According to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 90,000 overdose deaths for the 12 months ending last September.  That compares to roughly 70,000 drug deaths during the same period a year earlier.  Rhode Island experienced 384 overdose deaths last year, most involving opioids, according to the state’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.