11/20/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2019 19:40
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $299,456 in federal funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for Virginia Tech to conduct research on community-based ways to combat the opioid epidemic and facilitate cooperation between law enforcement and public health agencies. The grant was awarded through the ONDCP's Combating Opioid Overdose through Community-Level Intervention (COOCLI) grant program.
'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 towards conducting potentially lifesaving research at Virginia Tech,' said the Senators. '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 issued under the COOCLI program support efforts to: 1) undertake research activities that entail implementing and evaluating community-based efforts to fight the opioid overdose epidemic; and 2) 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.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long advocated for increased federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia. Last year, the Senators successfully passeda bipartisan bill to help communities across Virginia by improving opioid treatment and recovery efforts and providing new tools for law enforcement. Additionally, in 2016, Sens. Warner and Kaine successfully advocated for the inclusion of several Virginia counties intothe High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.