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Funding for opioid recovery transportation services

  •   3 min read

These funding sources can help communities provide transportation services to enable access to opioid use disorder recovery and treatment.

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Transportation is an important element of addressing the opioid crisis, with states increasingly focused on its role in removing barriers to accessing recovery-related care. Thankfully, communities have a variety of options for designing and providing transportation services for opioid use disorder treatment and recovery. Such services can be delivered by public transit agencies, cities, local advocacy groups, healthcare providers, or, as in the case of Washington, DC, through a collaboration between organizations.

There are also multiple ways to fund a recovery transportation service, including programs specifically targeted towards addressing the opioid crisis and funding sources allocated for specific transportation use cases, such as accessing healthcare or connecting rural communities.  

Interested in learning more about how to help your community combat substance or opioid use disorder? Via works with communities every step of the way — from designing transit systems to supporting grant applications for program funding. Reach out to our team at partnerships@ridewithvia.com

Opioid Crisis Funding

Opioid Settlement Funds 

States are set to receive millions from settling lawsuits with pharmaceutical companies over their role in the opioid crisis. Settlements include a $26 billion deal with Johnson & Johnson and major drug distributors in the US. States are designing unique spending plans for the funds, which can be used to support opioid recovery and prevention services. 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA sponsors State Opioid Response (SOR) grants and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) grants, allocating billions of dollars to states and tribal organizations for evidence-based approaches to opioid crisis remediation. These funds are typically administered by state health agencies. Washington, DC and West Virginia, for example, are using these funds to provide opioid recovery transportation programs. SOR and TOR applications for the 2022 fiscal year will be posted in mid-February. SAMHSA also provides a variety of other grants for public and nonprofit entities combating the opioid crisis. 

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA sponsors the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), which has awarded $298M to address rural barriers to treatment of substance use disorder since 2018. The funds are available to any public, private, or nonprofit entity.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH’s HEAL Initiative provides over $945 million in funding for research projects investigating evidence-based solutions to the opioid crisis. The initiative offers a variety of grants, including for small businesses, universities, and healthcare providers.

Innovative Transportation Funding

Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

The FTA supports a variety of grants for transportation that may be leveraged for an opioid recovery transportation service. For example: 

  • The FTA provides grants for innovative non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services. This funding is designed to improve access to public transportation by building partnerships among health, transportation, and other service providers.
  • The FTA provides Formula Grants for Rural Areas (areas with populations under 50,000) to provide capital, planning, and operating assistance for public transit. The National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) is inviting current FTA formula grant recipients to apply for up to $100,000 in funding. 
  • In the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the FTA created the new Rural Surface Transportation Program. This will provide funding for capital investment, as well as innovative alternative transit modes that can have particular impact in rural communities. 

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs)

There are a variety of ways for state DOTs to engage in recovery transportation, from providing funding to transit infrastructure. For example:

  • Tennessee’s DOT is partnering with Vanderbilt University to fund an 18-month study to understand ways to mitigate the opioid crisis through transportation. 
  • State DOTs provide funding for transportation services that meet the needs of underserved populations. For instance, the Massachusetts DOT releases the Community Transit Grant Program every spring to provide flexible funding for seniors and people with disabilities.

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