Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts Announces Initiative to Help Schools Access Medicaid Funding for Substance Misuse Prevention Programs

New York, Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medicaid funding is available to expand school-based substance misuse prevention programs, however many school districts have limited access to the knowledge and technical assistance to obtain this funding. The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) today announced a grant to the Healthy Schools Campaign, a Chicago-based non-profit organization, to develop and disseminate educational resources and provide technical assistance to help school districts fully utilize Medicaid to establish school-based substance misuse prevention programs.

“Despite increasing recognition that we are facing a youth mental health crisis, effective strategies for substance use prevention are not always included in school-based health programs,” said Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, President of the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts. “The Healthy Schools Campaign project will help states and school districts leverage Medicaid funding to incorporate and sustain school-based substance use prevention and early intervention programs for students and families.”

There are an estimated over 50 million youth attending K-12 schools nationally, 37 percent of them are enrolled in Medicaid. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of high school students reported having used select illicit drugs, and 14 percent report misusing prescription opioids. 

Through assisting states and school districts in identifying ways to leverage Medicaid as an equitable, sustainable, and scalable funding source, a greater number of students will have access to school-based substance misuse prevention and early intervention programs, such as substance use disorder screening, counseling, and referrals to treatment.

"Medicaid can be a uniquely sustainable form of funding for school-based health services, including mental health and substance misuse services -- but it can also be hard for school districts to access,” said Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of Healthly Schools Campaign. “We are excited to partner with FORE to explore how to expand effective and equitable substance use prevention services through Medicaid."

This latest project is part of FORE’s portfolio of grants focused on family and community-based prevention, and advances FORE’s goal to improve and expand opioid use disorder/substance use disorder prevention strategies for children and families at highest risk. The Healthy Schools Campaign project “Advancing Substance Misuse Prevention and Early Intervention through School Medicaid” will receive $335,617 over two years.

About the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE)
FORE was founded in 2018 as a private 501(c)(3) national, grant-making foundation focused on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. FORE is committed to funding a diversity of projects contributing solutions to the crisis at national, state, and community levels. FORE’s mission is to support partners advancing patient-centered, innovative, evidence-based solutions impacting people experiencing opioid use disorder, their families, and their communities. Through convening, grantmaking and developing informational resources, FORE seeks to bring about long-term change. To date, FORE has awarded 68 grants totaling $31.1 million.

About Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) 
Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) is a Chicago-based non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that works nationally to ensure that schools can provide students with healthy environments, nutrition, food, health services, and opportunities for physical activity.