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DSS launches grant program funded by national opioid settlement


The state Department of Social Service has launched a grant program to help communities combat opioid abuse.
The South Dakota Opioid Settlement Fund Community Grant Program is funded through a national settlement agreement involving several major pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health and Purdue Pharma.

Last legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill giving South Dakota’s share of this settlement to the DSS to manage. Community organizations aimed at fighting opioid abuse can apply for funds from the program.

“Opioid-related deaths can be prevented,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Matt Althoff. “The South Dakota Opioid Settlement Fund Community Grant Program is intended to actively combat the devastating impacts that opioid misuse can have. By making the settlement funds available to local groups, we believe that we will reverse this avoidable trend through greater awareness and understanding coupled with familiarity with the local community in which the efforts are being implemented.”

The DSS Division of Behavioral Health will manage the program, officials said.

“The drug landscape in South Dakota has changed dramatically over the years. Many drugs are far more concentrated and dangerous than they were in the past,” said DSS Chief of Behavioral Health Tiffany Wolfgang. “Counterfeit pills are now being mixed with fentanyl, xylazine or other drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. The danger is real, and local assistance is needed to assist in combating the opioid epidemic within South Dakota communities.”

More information about the national opioid settlement and South Dakota's settlement fund program are available on the DSS website.