U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King on Friday announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $300,000 in grants to three Maine health care providers to help reduce opioid abuse.

The award consists of $100,000 grants to Down East AIDS Network Inc. in Ellsworth, Maine General Medical Center in Augusta and Diversion Alert in Houlton, according to a news release from the senators.

The state is currently grappling with high rates of addiction and overdoses from opiates, including heroin and prescription painkillers.

“Opioid abuse has hurt our communities, divided families, and ruined lives,” Collins, a Republican, and King, an independent, said in a joint statement. “This grant funding will support the development of innovative community partnerships to combat this threat and will increase access to emergency care that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.”

In reaction to the crisis, some Maine communities have outfitted first responders, community activists and in some cases family and friends with naloxone or Narcan, a drug which can reverse the effects of opiates when a person has overdosed.

A total of $1.8 million in grants went to recipients in 13 states and is to be used to purchase naloxone, train health care and emergency workers in using that medicine and help get people with opiate abuse disorders into treatment.

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