March 11, 2016

Kilmer Applauds Grants for Bremerton, Tacoma Community Health Centers to Provide Expanded Services for Opioid Treatment

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) applauded the news that community health centers in Bremerton and Tacoma received grants to provide additional services to patients suffering from opioid addiction. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $325,000 to Peninsula Community Health Services in Bremerton and $406,250 for Community Health Care in Tacoma through the Affordable Care Act.

According to HHS, from 1999 to 2013 the number of fatal overdoses caused by prescription pain medication quadrupled while the number related to heroin increased by 39 percent. The grants will help centers increase the number of people screened for substance abuse while expanding access to treatment. Overall, the $94 million in grants are expected to help awardees hire roughly 800 providers to treat nearly 124,000 new patients. 

“This is great news for folks in Bremerton and Tacoma struggling with the cycle of addiction,” said Kilmer. “Community health centers are anchors for local neighborhoods and an effective place for people abusing opioids to go when they need help. These investments will give providers at clinics additional tools to get more people coming through the door before a tragedy like an overdose can take place. We have more work to do to address this issue and make sure all communities, including rural areas, have the resources they need to confront this scourge head on.” 

Recently, Kilmer called for increased access to critical opioid overdose medication and prevention tools for communities in Washington state, particularly rural areas. Kilmer is also a cosponsor of a bipartisan bill to help local law enforcement and medical personnel deal with the opioid problem. The Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education, and Enforcement Act of 2015 would initiate new guidance and best practices for medical professionals while reauthorizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) essential to law enforcement.