‘Clark State wants to be a problem-solver’: College will use $900K grant fight opioid crisis

Clark State Community College has been awarded nearly $900,000 in grant funding from the United State Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

The grant was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration of the HHS.

“Health centers and behavioral health providers are on the front lines of the fight against the opioid crisis substance abuses, especially in rural communities,” said Alex Azar, secretary of HHS. “With our evidence-based strategy, HHS is working to support local communities in fighting back against substance abuse, and our united efforts are yielding results.”

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The grant for $899,228 will be used to help Clark State develop and implement a new proposed paraprofessionals certificate with the goal of expanding the knowledge, skills and abilities of its graduates, according to the university.

The program will also serve as a launching point for their graduates respective careers in chemical dependency, addiction and mental health services.

The need for paraprofessionals and professionals to address the impact of addiction and to aid in recovering is great throughout Ohio, especially in the Southwestern region, according to a statement from Clark State.

“The workforce problem in our area is three-fold: there is a significant workforce shortage, providers compete for the limited pool of skilled workers and entry-level workers could be retained and move-up by raising their trauma-informed, integrated addiction competencies and credentials,” said CEO of the Mental Health Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties, Greta Mayer.

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Clark State’s grant proposal stated many people in rural areas of Ohio have extremely limited access to medication-assisted treatment, and it is a critical issue in the rural area of southwest Ohio where opioid abuse rates are high, but local access to treatment is limited.

Clark State serves both urban and rural communities in its catchment area.

Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State, said addiction is a serious problem, “in our city, our region, our state and our nation.”

“Clark State wants to be a problem-solver, and knowing the excellent education provided by our social services faculty and the strong support we get form our partners, we knew we had to jump at this opportunity,” Blondin said.

Springfield opened its only medication-assisted treatment clinic. BrightView, located at 201 N. Yellow Springs St., in late May.

According to a statement from the company, BrightView, “takes a positive approach to treating the disease of addiction and engaging those afflicted by it through a combination of medication-assisted treatment, counseling and social support.”

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