America’s opioid crisis has devastated communities across the country.  While there’s a great deal of attention on the impacts on healthcare and policing, state and local governments are facing difficulties in implementing solutions that will address underlying causes and provide a way out of the cycle of substance abuse.  Treatment programs  that form the frontline defense against substance abuse and help users break the cycle of addiction, the ability to deliver the programs to rural communities, where the need is greatest, is often hampered by the lack of resources.

Rather than hoping for more skilled personnel to appear in at-risk rural communities, state and local governments are turning to telehealth technologies to get assistance to those in need.  However, in order to deliver programs a robust IT infrastructure needs to be in place. But before this is seen as more disheartening news for the state and local government agencies trying to deliver assistance, there is help at hand.

A series of grants to help state and local governments deliver treatment and recovery programs are open now through April 25th, 2017.  The total funding pool across these grants total more than $7 million and will be awarded in amounts from $100,000 to $1 million across across six categories – two of which are focused on healthcare IT infrastructure.   The largest category for IT grants is focused on the creation of a pilot program to run in three, rural sites within a state to deliver treatment and recovery programs via telehealth, telemedicine, or mobile health tools. The grants can be used to purchase hardware and software that will deliver real-time, web-based treatment and recovery programs.  Another grant of note for IT funding in this area is the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) administered through the Department of Justice.  This program offers grants of up to $400,000 to develop a prescription drug data collection and sharing to improve the accuracy of data and contribute to the fight against prescription drug abuse.

As with any grant application the more collaboration between agencies, organizations, and localities that can be demonstrated, the more likely the application will be successful and result in a higher monetary award.   If you’re interested in submitting an application you can find more guidance here and find a full summary of the grants here.