- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2016

MIAMI (AP) - Federal health officials are giving more than $3 million to nine health centers in Florida to help expand substance abuse programs, specifically ones focusing on opioid treatment in underserved populations.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement that the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing public health issues facing the country.

The Florida funds announced Friday will increase the number of patients screened for substance use disorders and connected to treatment, increase the number of patients with access to medication treatment for opioid use and other substance use disorder treatment. The funds will also help educate health professionals to make more informed prescribing decisions.

Nationally, $94 million was given and is expected to help programs hire approximately 800 providers to treat nearly 124,000 new patients.

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