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March 2016

HHS Releases Guidance for Syringe Services Programs

By: Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., Acting Director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Cross-posted from the AIDS.gov Blog

The United States is experiencing a growing opioid epidemic, which has made many communities vulnerable to outbreaks of HIV and viral hepatitis among people who inject drugs (PWID). To address this issue, Members of Congress worked together late last year on a broad, bipartisan basis to revise a longstanding ban on the use of federal funds for Syringe Services Programs (SSPs). President Obama signed the bipartisan budget agreement into law, which makes it possible for grantees to use federal funds to support operational components of SSPs under certain circumstances.

To support an implementation of this change in law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released new guidance [PDF 960 KB] for state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments that will allow them to request permission to use federal funds to support SSPs.

A large number of scientific studies have found that SSPs reduce HIV risk. In 2011, the U.S. Surgeon General determined that SSPs are an effective way of reducing HIV transmission among PWID and that there is ample evidence that SSPs promote entry to, and retention in, drug treatment and medical services, without increasing illegal drug use. Many national and community-based organizations worked for years to draw attention to the scientific evidence and to build support for SSPs. The change in the law would not have occurred without their sustained effort.

Requesting Use of Federal Funds

The HHS guidance describes how health departments can request to use federal funds to start or expand SSPs to prevent new HIV and viral hepatitis infections. Federal funds can now be used to support a comprehensive set of services, but they cannot be used to purchase sterile needles or syringes for illegal drug injection.

The guidance states that state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments must consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provide evidence that their jurisdiction is (1) experiencing, or (2) at risk for significant increases in viral hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use.

After receiving a request for determination of need, CDC will have 30 days to notify the requestor whether the evidence is sufficient to demonstrate a need for SSPs. When CDC finds there is enough evidence, state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments and other eligible HHS grant recipients may then apply to their respective federal agencies to direct funds to support approved SSP activities. Each funding agency will be providing specific SSP guidance to its grantees regarding which specific programs may apply and the application process for each institution.

Lessons Learned

The recent outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among persons who were injecting drugs in rural Indiana, and the steep rise nationally in new HCV infections, are powerful reminders that the hard-won gains of the past can be lost if we do not remain vigilant. The opioid epidemic is affecting many communities across the country, and these areas are vulnerable to future outbreaks of HIV and the continued spread of viral hepatitis if we do not work to ensure that robust SSPs and other critical prevention and treatment services are in the place where they are needed. When the local opioid epidemic in Indiana fueled a dramatic increase in the number of new HIV cases, public health officials were able to halt the further spread of the virus by implementing a comprehensive response to identifying and prevent new infections that included SSPs as a key component.

Expanding the reach of SSPs and the services that these programs provide is part of a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and viral hepatitis among PWID that supports the goals of the updatedNational HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan to reduce the number of new HIV and viral hepatitis infections. HHS is committed to supporting health departments and all of our partners in the field to conduct SSPs in a way that protects the lives and health of all those at risk for, and living with, HIV and viral hepatitis. In the weeks to come, HHS agencies will be offering additional information and technical assistance to federal grantees that may wish to use federal funds to support operational components of SSPs. Together, our actions will play an important role in preventing new infections among PWID.

View the SSP guidelines here [PDF 960 KB].

View The White House Fact Sheet: Obama Administration Announces Additional Actions to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Epidemic here.


Summer Sky Announces Addiction Educational Video Series

Summer Sky Treatment Center has announced that it would begin the production of various educational videos to help promote awareness of addiction and the need for alcohol and drug treatment.  Substance use disorders are on the rise across the nation. With the soaring opiate epidemic and increased alcohol consumption and an increase in illegal usage of illicit drugs, there is no shortage of addiction treatment needs.

In the next 6-months, Summer Sky has plans to feature a complete blitz of educational, and promotional videos focused on education and offering addiction treatment help to as many people as possible. Summer Skys President Scott Kelley had this to say about the campaign. "We have served the nation as a leading provider of addiction treatment for 31-years, and it's time we joined forces with other organizations to bring awareness to the public that people do recover from drug addiction."

Summer Sky starts its campaign with " I am Addiction" followed with emotionally charged videos to make you think and seek help. Below is a sample of "I am Addiction." 

           


Slam Dunk On Addiction Treatment Tips

Slam Dunk On Addiction

Texas-based alcohol and drug rehab have launched an original campaign to increase the war on addiction. Addiction is currently taking the lives of to many people in the United States. Summer Sky, a leading provider of addiction treatment services has " Slam Dunked on Addiction" this campaign seeks to help as many people find addiction treatment as possible. What Summer Sky Treatment Center has done is lower the private pay treatment rate so more people can access drug and alcohol treatment at affordable prices. If you are in need of high-quality addiction treatment and want to save money while you seek help for substance use disorder treatment, then check this addiction program out.

 Five Treatment Tips:

1. Affordable treatment does not mean mortgaging the house to find addiction treatment. You should be able to discuss openly with, and addiction treatment program what affordable financial options are available to you, and they should guide you in the right direction to get the needed help you seek. So call and discuss treatment options with the treatment program.

2. Seek out programs that are in-network treatment providers. Most addiction treatment programs are conscious of your personal financial needs, and since the cost of addiction treatment can vary from program to program, in-network treatment centers should help ensure that you get a price break with your insurance company. When you find an in-network treatment provider, you inadvertently save yourself money out of your pocket.

3. No hidden fees when you use in-network treatment providers, this is more convenient than you can imagine. In-network programs can lower the bills that come in after treatment and. No surprises; addictions already produce enough surprises, why not circumvent this issue on the front end of seeking services and go to an in-network provider.

4. Treatment of substance use disorders is already expensive, seeking affordable options for treatment helps you and the individual seeking treatment.

5. While there are many good out of network treatment programs around, please be aware that there are advantages to in-network providers versus out-of-network treatment providers. Do your homework and look for accredited programs.

 

    


Summer Sky March Madness-Slam Dunk on Addiction-90-Day Addiction Treatment

Summer Sky Treatment Center is offering an amazing deal for those looking for a 90-Day treatment program. If you have never heard of Summer Sky, I want to encourage you to visit them at http://www.summersky.us and most importantly call them at 1-888-857-8857 and on of their admission specialist will help you with arranging an admission into their program. Substance Use Disorder Treatment-Texas-Summer Sky