LITTLE ROCK — The state Department of Human Services said Tuesday its Division of Behavioral Health Services has received a two-year, $8 million federal grant to combat opioid addiction in the state.


The agency said in a news release that to obtain the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant, it identified five strategies for addressing opioid addiction: Strengthening public health surveillance; advancing the practice of pain management; improving access to treatment and recovery services; targeting availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs; and supporting cutting-edge research.


States receiving the grants are required to use the money to supplement, not supplant, existing opioid prevention, treatment and recovery activities in their state.


Opioids are prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and are more commonly known as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. Opioid overdoses were responsible for more than 33,000 deaths across the country in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.


In 2012, Arkansas ranked eighth in the nation for prescriptions of opioid pain relievers, according to DHS.


The agency said that in 2013, Arkansas had the highest rate of teen prescription drug abuse in the country.