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State policymakers across the U.S. continue to grapple with how to address the mounting drug overdose crisis. Despite their efforts, overdose mortality rates remain high, and most people with a substance use disorder (SUD) are not receiving the treatment and support they need. People with SUD in the U.S. frequently experience barriers to accessing care and challenges in navigating fragmented health delivery systems. In addition, there are stark disparities in access and outcomes for historically marginalized groups and communities.

This Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) webinar, made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, showcased a new resource to guide states in strengthening SUD treatment services by maximizing available public funding sources, such as Medicaid — which has greatly expanded coverage of SUD services under the Affordable Care Act — and new funding streams, including opioid settlement dollars. Speakers from CHCS and Pew shared highlights from the recently released State Principles for Financing Substance Use Care, Treatment, and Support Services report and described how states can apply the principles to inform financing and strategic planning of SUD services. The webinar featured subject matter experts in the SUD field, who shared their experiences in operationalizing some of these principles at the state level.


I. Welcome and Introduction

Speaker: Hadley Fitzgerald, MSW, Senior Program Officer, CHCS

H. Fitzgerald welcomed participants and provided an overview of the webinar.

II. Overview of the State Principles for Financing Substance Use Care, Treatment and Support Services

Speakers: Disha Williams, MPH, Program Officer, CHCS and Andrew Whitacre, MA, Officer, Pew

D. Williams described the development of and provided a brief overview of the principles. A. Whitacre contextualized the need for these principles and their potential to influence state policy by strengthening the long-term availability of robust SUD treatment and recovery services.

III. Principles Deep Dive – Using Medicaid Strategically and Incentivizing “No Wrong Door” Approaches:  Lessons from Kentucky

Speaker: Katherine Marks, PhD, Commissioner, Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental & Intellectual Disabilities

K. Marks described how the state of Kentucky operationalizes two key principles relating to the state’s strategic use of Medicaid funds to expand and sustain access to evidence-based SUD services as well as the state’s work to incentivize and sustain “no wrong door” approaches, including through the activities of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort.

IV. Principles Deep Dive – Addressing SUD Treatment Disparities for Historically Marginalized Groups and Communities: Lessons from a Community-Based Organization, The Imani Breakthrough Project

Speaker: Chyrell Bellamy, PhD, MSW, Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale School of Medicine

C. Bellamy described how a community-based organization (CBO) in Connecticut, The Imani Breakthrough Project, has approached the key principle of addressing SUD treatment disparities for historically marginalized groups and communities. C. Bellamy described the organization, which is a person-centered, culturally informed harm reduction recovery program delivered in faith-based settings, and discussed how the organization navigates barriers that CBOs often face in bringing innovative, culturally responsive SUD services to historically marginalized groups and communities.

V. Moderated Q&A 

Moderator: H. Fitzgerald, CHCS