Torrington addiction treatment center gets $1 million in federal opioid response funding

TORRINGTON — A local addiction treatment center has been awarded $1 million in grant funding through a federal program to combat the opioid crisis in rural areas.

The McCall Center, a private nonprofit behavioral health center, announced Monday it would receive the grant. The money is a grant from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, a Health and Human Services initiative that tries to end barriers to treatment for people addicted to opioids and other substances.

The center received the funding as part of a Litchfield County opioid task force that also includes Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, the Connecticut Office of Rural Health, Greenwcoods Counseling Referrals and the Torrington Area Health District.

In a statement, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., called the grant “a potential game changer” for Litchfield County, noting the region has an overdose and mortality rate more than twice the national average.

“Much more remains to be done and we will fight for continuing investment in prevention and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders,” Blumenthal said. “The McCall Center has been a beacon of hope and health and this grant will magnify its worthwhile work.”

Maria Coutant Skinner, McCall’s CEO, said the crisis “is especially difficult to address in rural communities due to the limited access to behavioral health care, disparate incomes and pockets of poverty,” with Litchfield County being no exception.

The money will be given out over three years and used by the task force to improve data collection, improve access to therapy, expand options for care and improve communication.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the U.S. Senate appropriations committee, said he would push for more federal funding in a statement, saying the crisis “continues to devastate far too many families in Connecticut, and it’s been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5, said it was great the center was receiving the funds with its partners “to further their mission to support the community with prevention and treatment of substance use and mental health disorders.”