The Northeast Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition was recently awarded a $200,000 planning grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. This Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning III project will target Carter, Lewis, Montgomery, and Rowan counties for 18 months of planning and assessment concerning substance use disorder, community resources, and possible jail re-entry programming.
The Coalition includes representatives from: Achieving Recovery Together, the Clark County Health Department, Comprehend Inc., the Gateway District Health Department, the Kentucky Rural Healthcare Information Organization, the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center, Pathways Inc., St. Claire HealthCare, and Tri-State Primary Care. The project, which began Sept. 1, is one of 50 that was selected for funding, and the only Kentucky project that was chosen.
Beginning Sept. 1, 2020, project staff will conduct focus groups with community stakeholders in each county, including representatives from: law enforcement, health care, education, elected officials, employers/chamber of commerce, faith-based groups, and so forth in an attempt to gather information about what resources each county already has, or would like to have to help combat the opioid and substance use epidemic in their county. Project staff will also meet with jailers and jail staff to determine interest and readiness for possibly establishing a jail re-entry program for individuals leaving incarceration with opioid and substance use disorder. Lastly, project staff will attempt to interview county inmates in local detention centers who were arrested on drug-related charges at each of the four county jails to learn about what resources these individuals would most benefit from up on their release.
“Although so much attention has shifted to the coronavirus pandemic, the opioid epidemic still rages in our region – and in some cases is getting worse due to recent events,” said David A. Gross, St. Claire HealthCare’s administrative director for education and research, who will administer the project. “This planning project will be an important first step toward potentially implementing longer-term solutions to the opioid crisis in Carter, Lewis, Montgomery, and Rowan counties.”