JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A $6 million federal grant has been awarded to the University of Medical Medicine Center (UMMC) in Jackson to help fund statewide treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.

The goal for UMMC is to make more drug and alcohol addiction services statewide to directly help those fighting increasingly deadly substance abuse. The grant will help fund the Mississippi Horizon Project within the Medical’s Center Center for Innovation and Discovery in Addictions (CIDA).

The award comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there were 107,375 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics reports that by the end of 2022 there will be a total of 496 overdoses reported in the state and 416 of them involved an opioid.

Dr. Saurabh Bhardwaj, medical director for the CIDA Mississippi Horizons Project, said the extra funding will allow UMMC addiction medicine providers to see more patients, give them a shorter wait, and provide expanded services.

“We will be able to offer from the simpler level of care to intensive outpatient therapy. It opens up a lot of opportunity to expand,” Bhardwaj said. “We have patients waiting in line to see us.”

The grant will fund more therapists and mental health professionals to care for a population that has become more challenging to treat. 

 “It will allow us to fill gaps in access to care and treatment. We will be educating not only patients, but our health care providers in the latest treatments,” said Dr. Joey Granger, associate vice chancellor for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences.

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