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DMHMRSAS Awarded Two Grants Enhancing System Transformation Efforts

~ Includes Targeted Treatment Program for Prescription Drug Addiction in Southwest ~

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services has been awarded two federal grants totaling $4.4 million over 5 years that will assist current efforts to transform Virginia’s system of care for mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse.

“These two grants will allow Virginia to expand critical community services and supports statewide,” said Governor Kaine. “Expanding services like those provided by the Project Remote and Real Choice programs means that more Virginians will have better access to the health care they need, and greater choice about how they receive that care.”

The Department has established Project Remote, a targeted treatment program for prescription drug addiction in far Southwest Virginia. The federal funding will provide $500,000 each year for 3 years, totaling $1.5 million. This matches state funds of $500,000 per year to the region to address substance abuse. The project will implement an enhanced service model, developed with community input, which integrates pharmacologic therapies with behavioral interventions, linkages to treatment following detoxification, and recovery support to sustain positive treatment effects.

Southwest Virginia was targeted because of a high increase of deaths from prescribed methadone in the area. Use of prescribed methadone for pain management increased following addiction problems with the drug Oxycontin. The training and services provided by the grant will cover three community services boards that encompass eight localities (Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Tazewell, Scott, Wise and Norton).

The second grant, Real Choice, is a multi-agency effort to build the technology and web-based infrastructure needed for a streamlined, long-term support system, where self-direction and choice by those needing services will be commonplace. Governor Kaine first announced the 5-year, $2.9 million award targeting aging Virginians and those with mental and physical disabilities two weeks ago (see

“Both grants enhance the state’s effort to expand the community system of services through the System Transformation Initiative, particularly to provide services in the setting most appropriate for individual needs – regardless of where you live, how old you are, or what level of need,” stated James Reinhard, DMHMRSAS Commissioner.

The General Assembly, through broad bipartisan support, approved an historic package of state funding this year to start the System Transformation Initiative with an initial investment of $194 million. The Initiative is designed to modernize Virginia’s mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services system through a substantial increase in community services and much-needed updating of four state facilities.

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