$625K awarded for substance abuse treatment, prevention
Times News - 8/31/2018
Aug. 31--The Free Clinics was awarded a $625,000 grant this week for Hope Rx to further implement vital substance abuse prevention and recovery efforts in Henderson County.
The grant was given by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Drug-Free Communities grant program and was awarded though 2022. The Free Clinics is the fiscal agent for the grant.
Hope Rx was formed through the Partnership for Health and works to reduce the rates of drug and substance abuse.
Approximately 120 grants were awarded, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's website.
With the additional funds, Hope Rx will continue to implement strategies to reduce substance abuse and spread prevention efforts, according to Director Julie Huneycutt. Focus will also increase on youth substance abuse issues, particularly in regard to alcohol consumption.
Communities awarded DFC grants typically see significant reductions in substance abuse, according to Huneycutt.
"I was thrilled on behalf of the entire community and what this will mean for the future of Hope Rx and what we are able to do as a community," Executive Director of The Free Clinics Judith Long said of the grant. "It is a powerful testimony to the work we've already done, and it enables us to have a really strong path to move forward."
A focus on opioid, underage drinking prevention
A great deal of community discussion went into deciding the two focus areas for the grant, Long said. The opioid crisis was selected first, and after continued research, underage drinking was selected for the second focal point.
With local children growing up around the brewery scene, it is unclear if that makes them more prone to drinking, Huneycutt said, but she wants to see about examining those effects. Alcohol can be a gateway for misusing other substances, she added.
The grant will also be used to support more recovery programs for teens.
"We want to make sure we are available to those who need help with recovery," Huneycutt said.
After the five-year grant is up, the organizations will have the opportunity to apply for an additional five years of funding.
"That is encouraging, and puts our feet firmly on the ground to give us a lot more stability," Huneycutt said.
The local announcement wasn't the only news surrounding DFC funding this week. President Donald Trump Wednesday announced $90.9 million in grants for 731 local drug prevention coalitions, marking the 20-year anniversary of the Office of National Drug Control Policy'sDrug-Free Community Support Program grant awards, according to a news release from the White House.
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