Grant proposal could expand substance abuse treatment to local jail, ex-inmates

A grant proposal for $1.3 million aims to expand substance abuse recovery services to those currently in the Clark County jail.

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A grant proposal for $1.3 million aims to expand substance abuse recovery services to those currently in the Clark County jail.

A proposal for a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance aims to expand substance abuse recovery services to those currently in the Clark County jail and to local residents who were formerly incarcerated.

The idea is that money from the grant, if awarded, will be allocated to two organizations in the area that already provide and or aiming to expand services to those impacted by substance abuse.

The city of Springfield and the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties are some of the entities involved in the grant proposal.

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Springfield commissioners are expected to vote next month to confirm and approve the application for the Comprehensive Opioid, Simulant, and Substance Abuse Site-based Program Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The majority of funding, if awarded, will go towards programming centered towards jail inmates who suffer from substance abuse disorders. That work is being administered by McKinley Hall, which provides addiction treatment services in Clark County.

A portion of the money would also go towards the efforts of Pinnacle Treatment Centers that has a presence in Springfield that would aim to strengthen safety nets and substance abuse recovery support for those post incarceration.

“We have underserved populations and marginalized groups that are involved in the criminal justice system and in the (Clark County) jail specifically. Then those those individuals who leave the jail are also at high risk, if they are substance involved, for overdose or death,” said Greta Mayer, the CEO of the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties.

Clark County is still dealing with the impacts of the opioid epidemic and preliminary data earlier this year showed that accidental overdose deaths are on the rise again in the county as there were 70 such deaths in 2021, a 32% increase over 2020.

Accidental drug overdose deaths were much higher back in 2017, with 104 in Clark County, according to the coroner’s office. The number dropped to 65 in 2018 and bottomed out at 52 in 2019. After virtually no change in 2020 (53 deaths), the number rose again to 70 last year.

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“We are still in the middle of an opioid epidemic. The rates of overdose are still high. The families and loved ones who have lost individuals or have loved ones in the active throes of addiction are severely impacted,” Mayer said, noting that the coronavirus pandemic made things worse.

The goal is to allocate potential grant funds to both McKinley Hall and Pinnacle Treatment Centers around October, if the grant proposal is accepted.

“What we are able to do through this grant proposal is to build upon services that are already in the community and expand them to wrap around this high risk and high need population,” Mayer said.

That would include recovery housing, peer support that is culturally responsive, expanding access points to medication assisted treatment and introduce new forms of treatment as well.

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