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South Dakota tribes, organizations to receive $5.4 million in federal funds for opioid crisis

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Rapid City's Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board will receive $475,000 from the federal government to aid in opioid responses, while other South Dakota tribal entities and state organizations will receive just under $5 million collectively.

President Joe Biden announced Friday morning that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), awarded about $1.5 billion to support states, tribal lands and territories' efforts to address the opioid crisis and support individuals in recovery. The action is part of National Recovery Month and SAMHSA's Stat Opioid and Tribal Opioid Response grant programs.

Brandon Ecoffey, public relations and communications director of the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, said the nonprofit organization applied for the grant. The funds will go to continue the organization's Great Plains Tribal Opioid Response program.

Ecoffey said the program is for the Rapid City area and the Crow Creek reservation. He said they also provide technical support to 17 different tribes in the region to help apply for grants and give guidance on how to pursue funding.

From the organization's program has come an animated series on social media, which will have a Facebook Live release Sept. 29 for "Brave Fox and the Cuff of Wisdom that follows "Skyhawk Reborn", equine therapy, virtual and in-person yoga classes, community events, and access to pharmaceutical treatments.

"The health board recognizes the dangers of opioids in our community and the impact it's had," Ecoffey said. "We are grateful for the funding to combat these issues."

The federal grant programs provide funding to states and territories to increase access to treatment for substance use disorder, remove barriers to public health interventions like naloxone, and expand access to recovery support services such as 24/7 Opioid Treatment Programs. The funds will also allow states to increase investments in overdose education, peer support specialists in emergency departments, and allow states to invest in other strategies that will help save lives in hard-hit communities.

South Dakota's Department of Social Services will receive $4 million, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe will receive $474,719; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate will receive $250,000 and the Yankton Sioux Tribe will receive $249,713.

South Dakota's State Opioid Response will expand upon infrastructure and capacity built through the state Targeted Response and Opioid Response efforts to date in support of increased access to medication-assisted treatment, life-saving naloxone distribution, telehealth access to care, prevention service delivery, and expanded access to recovery support services.

The state's Division of Behavioral Health through the state Department of Social Services will lead the project in collaboration with ongoing efforts with the Department of Health and community providers to identify and enhance community-based resources in prevention, treatment, recovery and peer support services.

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