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$1 Million Awarded for Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Efforts to ‘Fight’ Opioid Addiction in Stephens County Through “HOPE” Initiative

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has awarded $1 million to the Stephens County Mental Health Collaborative, in partnership with the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, to fund the efforts of the “HOPE for a Drug Free Stephens Initiative” started in 2018 to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis on individuals and families in Stephens County. The $1 million award was issued by HRSA to Georgia Partnership for Telehealth (GPT), which will be the fiscal agent and coordinator of the grant funds and will oversee its execution. The funds will cover expenses needed for programming and services over a three-year period of performance. “It is an honor to partner with Stephens County in this endeavor to improve outcomes and access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment and recovery through telehealth solutions,” said GPT’s COO and Grant Project Director Sherrie Williams.

The members of the Stephens County Mental Health Consortium include Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, Stephens County Hospital Emergency Department, Avita Community Partners, Stephens County Sheriff, Toccoa Police Department, Stephens County EMS, Open Arms Free Clinic, Toccoa Clinic, Family Connections, Stephens County Hospital Physicians, Stephens County Development Authority, and local business leaders and supporting organizations committed to improving access to mental health services, and to reducing the overdose death rate in Stephens County from the use of opiates and controlled substances.

“This award is an asset that will provide much-needed funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to ‘fight’ opioid addiction, reduce the high rate of fatal overdose here in Stephens County and make a positive impact on people’s lives in our community,” said Consortium Co-chair and Grant Program Manager, Kathy Whitmire.

In 2018 the County Health Rankings website reported an average of 16 fatal opioid and related substance use overdoses annually in Stephens County. Stephens County Emergency Department reported 117 non-fatal opioid/SUD overdoses. The goal of the consortium’s HOPE Initiative is to strengthen our community’s capacity to change the skyrocketing trend in years of potential life lost by targeting more integrated and comprehensive substance use disorder/opioid use disorder (SUD/OUD) prevention, treatment and recovery support.

As an award recipient, the Consortium’s goal will be to implement a set of core SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities that align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS)?Five-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis.?

To meet this goal, the Consortium identified the following steps in its grant request:

Prevention: The HOPE Initiative will reduce the occurrence and associated risk of OUD among new and at-risk users, as well as fatal opioid-related overdoses through community and provider education, harm reduction strategies, and referral to treatment and recovery support services.

Treatment: The HOPE Initiative will implement and expand access to evidence-based practices, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with psychosocial intervention, and eliminate or reduce treatment costs for uninsured and underinsured patients.

Recovery: The HOPE Initiative will expand access to recovery and treatment options that help people in Stephens County battling OUD and will track the number that start and stay in recovery, including socio-economic assessment to ensure access to support services such as transportation, housing, peer recovery, case management, employment assistance, and childcare.

For More Information Contact:
Kathy Whitmire, Co-Chair and Grant Program Manager - 706-491-3493
Stephens County Mental Health Collaborative and HOPE for a Drug-Free Stephens

“This project (grant # GA1RH33505) is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1M. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”

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Source: PRWeb
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