The federal government spending bill that was signed into law on Thursday includes a couple of provisions to help people in this area.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger says the spending bill includes funding for a new program at Germanna Community College and to help fight substance use disorder.
The Germanna Community College Educational Foundation is getting $251,000 to help buy the equipment necessary to provide free health care services to uninsured and underinsured residents of Orange County.
“Now, the clinic will be able to serve local residents, improve community health outcomes, as well as provide Germanna nursing students with the experience they need to be successful in their careers and enter the local healthcare workforce,” said Spanberger.
This is for the newly-established Robert C. O’Neill Wellness Clinic, which will offer various services, such as screens and referrals, dental care, physical therapy, wellness evaluations, and wellness classes.
This will allow students from Germanna’s Nursing and Health Technologies program to gain more of the clinical hours they need for graduation.
“Germanna is grateful for the support received from Congresswoman Spanberger for the Robert C. O’Neill Wellness Clinic,” said Dr. Shashuna Gray, the vice president of Academic Affairs and Workforce Development at Germanna Community College. “Germanna intends to double the number of nursing students over the next few years. Our mission to change the lives of the community members where we live, educate, work and play includes the mental and physical health of the community. The College will provide access by way of preventative screenings and referrals through the use of the money.”
Regarding support for programs that fight substance use disorder and addiction, the bill includes $900 million.
The provision increases federal investment in programs to fight these issues in the face of increasing overdose deaths, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is now the most common cause of unintentional death across the country.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration will use the money to support communities in their fight against substance use disorder, specifically by reauthorizing several programs focused on overdose prevention, first responder training, co=prescribing programs, pregnant and postpartum women substance use disorder treatment, and alternatives to opioids in emergency rooms.
“In recent years, Virginia has seen record rates of overdose and overdose-related deaths, and I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with the families of parents who have lost children to addiction and eventual overdose. Many of these parents have turned to advocacy, in an effort to prevent other families from experiencing these horrible tragedies,” said Spanberger. “I also want to recognize the tireless, often lifesaving work of the Virginia recovery organizations, law enforcement officers, and community leaders who have been spearheading the fight against addiction in our region. This new funding will support their work, build more pathways of hope, and make Virginia’s communities healthier, stronger, and more resilient long into the future.”
The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Act was named for Summer Barrow, a Virginia resident who died of a fentanyl overdose in January 2020. Barrow’s mother, Carey Colvin, has since become one of the parents advocating for actions to prevent similar tragedies for other families.
“With more Americans dying this past year from overdose than any previous year on record, it is time to make bold investments across all levels of intervention and treatment in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Brandie Williams, the Deputy Executive Director for the Rappahannock Community Services Board. “The flexibility in funding provided for in The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act sends a clear message to our communities, our friends, our brothers, and our daughters experiencing addiction that you are not alone. Just as the path to recovery looks different for each individual, so should the resources and treatment options available to them. We are committed and resourced to stand beside you.”
President Joe Biden signed the $1.7 trillion spending bill, which will keep the federal government operating through the end of fiscal year 2023, on Thursday.