The Louisiana Health Department has received a $24 million grant from the federal government to combat the opioid epidemic. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health Dr. Janice Petersen says the money will fund a comprehensive recovery program for addicts.

“It addressees not only the treatment needs of those folks, but provide a comprehensive approach to look at prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.”

LDH says the funds will help them expand recovery programs rural areas that are currently under served.

Petersen says the grant help pay for more accurate assessments when it comes to finding the right services for each patient, as well as determine which medication may be needed for recovery, and the funds to pay for that medication when people can’t afford it. And that’s not all.

“Increase capacity for the treatment facility, and a comprehensive counseling and recovery support service provided.”

Petersen says a major part of the initiative is helping addicts support themselves by helping them build the skills necessary to hold down a job that can pay the bills, while they work towards ridding themselves of their opioid addiction. She says there’s cash set aside to help those folks get work.

“It will address their vocational and employment needs, and help them become more productive citizens of Louisiana’s society.”

According to the CDC, the number of deaths has more than doubled from 2011 to 2015. Also, over 1,000 people died from an overdose in Louisiana in 2016.