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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ announced Wednesday the first round of grants to help the state and others fight opioid addition.

“It seems like everyone I meet is in some way impacted by this tragic opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, applauding the announcement in a statement. “These grants will directly help those in need here in southwest Michigan and across the country. I applaud the administration for getting these grants out in an expedited manner.”

The federal government is providing states nearly half a billion dollars for prevention and treatment programs aimed at confronting the opioid epidemic, which Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price described Wednesday as a “crisis.”

According to HHS, Michigan was awarded $16,372,680 in the first round of grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

During a drug prevention summit in Atlanta on Wednesday, Price announced that HHS will soon provide $485 million in grants to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and six U.S. territories.

The funding is the first of two rounds provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act, bipartisan legislation Upton was involved in that Congress approved last year and former President Barack Obama signed.

The funding, which supports prevention, treatment and recovery services depending on the needs of recipients, was awarded based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment, HHS officials said Wednesday.

The growing dependence on opioids has mushroomed into a national health crisis, ripping apart communities and straining police and health departments.

In 2015, more than 33,000 people fatally overdosed on opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no other year on record has seen a higher number. Nearly half of the deaths involved a prescription opioid.

The situation has prompted some Metro Detroit officials to offer training and take other action.

“As part of our bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, we fought hard to include this funding to aid in this public health crisis,” Upton said Wednesday. “Now, we’re delivering. To those in the midst of this fight: Help is on its way.”

Price said the Trump administration has a five-part strategy on opioids: improved access to treatment and recovery services; making overdose-reversing drugs more widely available; stepped-up public health surveillance of the epidemic; support for research on pain and addiction; and promoting better ways to help patients manage pain.

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