MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state of Alabama is getting $6.3 million in federal funding to help fight opioid addiction.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced grants last week to help fund community health centers and rural groups combatting the sometimes-deadly painkillers.

The money will also be used for schools that are working to expand and improve access to substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

Federal health authorities have reported there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, for a rate of 21.7 per 100,000 people. Statistics show the death rate is even higher in some Alabama counties, and the state had more than 5,100 overdoses from 2006 through 2014.

The grants are part of a nationwide program to fight what the government calls a crisis.

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