Virginia Tech has landed $299,456 in federal funding to conduct research on community-based ways to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The grant was released through the auspices of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Virginia’s senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, jointly applauded the awarding of the grant. In a joint statement, they said, “Communities throughout the commonwealth and across the country continue to feel the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic, which is why we’re so glad to see this federal funding go toward conducting potentially lifesaving research at Virginia Tech. We’re proud to know that with this grant, the commonwealth will continue to play a vital role in making sure that our nation is better prepared to mitigate this crisis and fight opioid addiction.”
In 2018, the Virginia Department of Health estimated that 1,059 people died in Virginia as a result of a fentanyl, heroin or prescription opioid overdose. Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, surpassing car accidents and gun violence.
Grants such as that Virginia Tech has received support efforts to undertake research activities that entail implementing and evaluating community-based efforts to fight the opioid overdose epidemic and support and promote the partnership of law enforcement and public health agencies, whose collaboration is critical to reducing overdose and other harms of opioid abuse.
The commonwealth’s two senators have long advocated for increased federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia. Last year, the senators successfully passed a bipartisan bill to help communities across Virginia by improving opioid treatment and recovery efforts and providing new tools for law enforcement. Additionally, in 2016, the Virginia senator successfully advocated for the inclusion of several Virginia counties in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.