As opioids continue to devastate people and families across Minnesota, a new set of state grants focuses on communities bearing the greatest burdens of the crisis.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is awarding $5.7 million to 12 grantees to expand services available to support people suffering from opioid use disorder and make it easier to get help. Organizations funded are around the state, and will serve an array of Minnesotans.
More and more Minnesotans are losing their lives to opioid use disorder. The number of opioid-involved deaths in Minnesota reached 924 in 2021, up from 343 in 2018. American Indians and Black Minnesotans are experiencing the opioid epidemic more severely. American Indians are seven times more likely to die from a drug overdose than white Minnesotans, while Black Minnesotans are twice as likely to die from a drug overdose.
“Minnesota cannot and will not accept this continued pain and heartbreak for families and communities,” said DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “With this funding, our partners can save lives now and in the years to come through a range of programs that are person-centered, trauma-informed and culturally responsive.”
The new grants will support culturally specific practices, including primary prevention and overdose prevention, workforce development and training, and expansion and enhancement of the continuum of care.
Gov. Tim Walz’s budget proposal to the 2023 Legislature includes a package of measures addressing the opioid epidemic. His recommendations, totaling $21.5 million over four years, include stronger representation of disproportionately impacted communities on the state Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council, ongoing funding for traditional healing and overdose prevention grants, and more education for opioid treatment professionals.
The current awards are the second set of grants recommended by the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council, after an earlier round totaling approximately $5 million in 2022.
“I’m proud of the work we have been focused on over the past three years. Providing over $10 million to tackle many different objectives across the state is what we have worked for,” said Rep. Dave Baker (R-Willmar), the council’s chair. “Our needs are endless, but we must deploy resources and help support families facing this deadly crisis.”
In the coming months, the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council will announce additional funding recommendations and begin soliciting proposals for new funding.
(Source: Minnesota DHS)