Smith: New $4M Federal grant to help address addictions in Monmouth, Ocean
Funds come through legislation Smith strongly supported
Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) in Lakewood will receive a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic to serve Ocean and Monmouth county residents, said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) a strong supporter of the legislation providing the federal funds.
“Expanding mental health services and boosting funding programs to combat substance use disorder is especially timely and needed as people continue to struggle with the health and economic challenges of the coronavirus and inherent restrictions,” Smith said.
“With this significant federal support, PBHG will provide additional services and reach more people throughout our community. The two-year grant will be used to launch a much-needed Community Behavioral Health Clinic that is specifically designed to provide an all-inclusive range of substance use disorder and mental health services, especially for individuals who have complex needs. It will allow the team at PBHG to expand the quality mental and psychological support services they are already providing in Ocean and Monmouth counties.”
PBHG’s chief executive officer, Mary Pat Angelini, welcomed the news and said they would put the grant to immediate good use.
“Preferred Behavioral Health Group is thrilled to be selected to receive the federal funding needed to create a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC),” Angelini said. “Our CCBHC will provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals living in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Among our expansion of services, our professional staff will provide crisis mental health services; patient-centered treatment planning; outpatient mental health and substance use services; primary care screening and monitoring; targeted case management; peer support, counseling, family support services and services for veterans.”
Since 1978, Preferred Behavioral Health Group of NJ has served those in need of guidance, counseling and assistance with difficult personal issues. Currently they have 15 locations in Monmouth and Ocean counties and serve over 30,000 individuals annually. PBHG’s mission is to deliver quality and compassionate behavioral health services around-the-clock to individuals and families.
The new funding comes via a Mental Health & Substance Abuse Service Grant provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which became law with Rep Smith’s support in December 2020.
Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), said that an October 2020 study with which she collaborated showed that of 7.5 million patients sampled, those who had previously had a substance use disorder (SUD) were 1.5 times more likely to have a COVID-19 diagnosis. Those with an opioid use disorder (OUD) were 2.4 times more likely to have COVID-19, those with a cocaine use disorder 1.6 times more likely, and those with an alcohol use disorder 1.4 times more likely.
Said Volkow about the study: “There is reason to be concerned that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and its most adverse health outcomes,” she said, adding, “Patients with lifetime SUD diagnoses also experienced more severe outcomes from COVID-19 than others, including hospitalization (41% versus 30%) and death (9.6% versus 6.6%). The disparity between African Americans and Caucasians was stark: 13 percent of African Americans in the sample with both lifetime SUD and COVID-19 died, versus 8.6 percent of Caucasians with both diagnoses.”
Congressman Smith represents New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes parts of both Monmouth and Ocean Counties, as well as Hamilton and Robbinsville in Mercer County.