Regional public health overdose response projects receive national funding

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Eight state projects targeting overdose prevention received funding from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. // Image courtesy of National Association of County and City Health Officials

Public health projects in eight different states have received funding ranging from $55,000 to $120,000 toward combating the opioid crisis in their communities. 

The National Association of County and City Health Officials allocated over $700,000 in funding to Overdose Response Strategy projects in Georgia, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia. The ORS is a joint effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program to reduce overdose deaths on local, state, and regional levels. 

These funds will go toward community organizations and local health departments working together to address community issues related to drug overdoses through evidence-based and data-driven efforts. 

“During a pandemic, linking communities to care to address the opioid epidemic is even more of a challenge. NACCHO is honored to work with its health department members to prevent misuse, reduce overdose deaths, and build community resilience,” says Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO Chief Executive Officer. “Partnerships with the CDC, and the Overdose Response Strategy states, and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program will advance existing outreach and create new avenues of help and support in local communities most affected. We look forward to supporting these pilot sites to reduce the terrible impact of the opioid crisis and save lives.”

The proposed projects and allotted funding to each are as follows: 

  • Monongalia County Health Department, West Virginia; $105,966

Since its initiation in the spring of 2019, the Monongalia County Health Department’s Quick Response Team has connected over 300 individuals to treatment or services. The QRT utilizes prevention strategies such as distributing contact cards for available services in the community and training to administer Naloxone and CPR. 

  • Springfield Turning Point Recovery Center, Vermont; $120,000

The Springfield Outreach Project received a grant last year toward the project’s launch and will use its received funds this year to expand to Bellows Falls, Vermont. Through the project, a recovery team is notified about individuals who experienced a non-fatal overdose and follows up via provided contact information to connect those individuals with social services such as treatment, harm reduction services, ongoing coaching, and housing assistance.

  • Engaging Patients in Care Coordination Program, Missouri; $94,668

The goal of this project is to establish this statewide program as a referral option for EMS providers. The program connects individuals who recently experienced an overdose to recovery-oriented services. The program will be looking to hire two new employees to partner with EMS, connect clients to care, and manage referrals. 

  • The Courage Center, South Carolina; $118,750

This center provides people with substance use disorder and their families with traditional and virtual recovery support services. The center’s existing Community Outreach Paramedic Education (COPE) program will be expanded into the Coordinated Overdose Response and Engagement (CORE) project, which will work to provide broader access to treatment and increase mobile outreach. 

  • Metro Drug Coalition, Tennessee; $55,000

This coalition is partnering with the Knox County public health department to host virtual Overdose Fatality (OFR) Team meetings. The provided funds will be used to create an advisory board to develop the telehealth platform for these meetings and administer a survey to determine users’ experience with it. 

  • Grady Health Systems, Georgia; $55,000

Grady Hospital’s Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) Program and Post-overdose Outreach Program (POP) will educate select police officers on a variety of topics including crisis intervention, de-escalation techniques, and identifying symptoms of opioid use. The program will have a partnership with the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) Training Academy and the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Senior Coordinator of the State Opioid Response for this project. 

  • North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, North Carolina; $55,000

The coalition is on its third year of ORS funding, after developing an overdose education and Naloxone distribution program during its first year and implementing weekly classes and evaluation at three local jails during its second. This year, some of the goals of the project include continuing to provide education and outreach, surveying participants after their release to assess the program’s success, and conducting stakeholder interviews with sheriffs, health care personnel, and outreach specialists. 

  • Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services, New York; $55,000

 Through partnership with the Albany County Corrections and Rehabilitative Services Center, the CCCCS project connected over 150 released inmates to harm reduction services. This year, the project will expand its follow-up survey period in order to capture primary outcome events such as relapse, arrest, and overdose. The program also aims to develop strategies to improve use of services for racial and ethnic minority groups. 

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