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St. Joseph County awarded grant to fight drug crisis

NOW: St. Joseph County awarded grant to fight drug crisis

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- On Monday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced $750,000 in grants to groups across the state to help fight the drug crisis, and some of that money will be staying right here in St. Joseph county.

St. Joseph County is one of 10 counties where $75,000 dollars will be given to local coalitions to strengthen evidence-based recovery initiatives.

The grant will help guide people with substance use disorder through the recovery process by funding treatment for services like transportation, housing, and even child care.

Locally, funding will be going to the St. Joseph County Health Improvement Alliance and the Partnership for the Education and Prevention of Substance Use. Oaklawn, the county health department, and the Upper Room Recovery Community all took part in the preparation of the grant.

The St. Joseph County Health Improvement Alliance is a cross-sector coalition of around 150 service providers ranging from food pantries, to hospitals, all working to support a recovery-oriented system of care.

Coordinator of St Joseph County Health Improvement Alliance, James Baxter, explained the general approach to solutions for the drug crisis.

“The reason that the cross-sector coalition is involved is that we need to provide wrap-around services to people who are in recovery. There may who are in recovery for example that need assistance with transportation to go see their doctor, or go to their mental health professionals, they may be food insecure, so there may be need for some food assistance. You don’t know when you encounter people in recovery what kind of obstacles to success full recovery they’re going to encounter,” he said.

Baxter says some of that money will go to hire people who can help provide those wrap-around services.

Communities nation-wide are feeling the impact of opioids and substance abuse disorder.

In the last year, The St. Joseph County Health Department distributed over 600 doses of Naloxone, medication that reverses an opioid overdose. Officials say it’s unknown how many doses were used, but the number of opioid deaths was down.

“We’re moving in the right direction in terms of deaths, but in terms of actual opioid use and the need of people recovering, those are expanding. That’s what the Governor recognizes, is that once people are in recovery, they need support to fully recover and get back to their lives and their work force. That’s what the grant was designed to address,” said Baxter.

The one-year grant is effective March 1st.                                            

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