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More grant money flows through Ozarks to fight opioid abuse

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Community Partnership of the Ozarks is the latest recipient of a grant meant to stem the tide of opioid abuse in the area.

CPO was chosen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration for a three-year, $150,000 federal grant to help fund the Greene County Opioid Misuse Prevention Project, according to a news release.

The project, starting July 1, will focus on youth intervention and prevention by developing a community awareness campaign, providing households with medication lockboxes and expanding educational resources.

“The increased presence and use of opioids, including prescription drugs, has been a growing problem in Greene County for several years,” said Chris Davis, CPO’s vice president of prevention and youth support, in the release. “The goal of decreasing youth misuse of opioids will be accomplished through collaborating with numerous partners to decrease the availability of opioids for misuse.”

CPO cited Missouri Student Survey results by the state Department of Mental Health that show misuse of prescription drugs among sixth through 12th graders in Greene County rose to 8.2 percent in 2016 from 3.8 percent in 2014. According to CPO, research also shows 80 percent of heroin users abused prescription drugs before moving to the harder narcotic.

The funds issued to CPO follow a $1 million grant recently awarded to Jordan Valley Family Health Foundation by the Missouri Foundation for Health. The grant funds the foundation’s three-year project to reach 750 southwest Missouri opioid addicts and provide treatment, as well as services that address economic situations, housing, education and lack of quality health care.

Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, announced $3.7 billion was included to combat opioid abuse in a larger funding bill passed by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

“The bill increases funding for opioid treatment and prevention programs and targets resources toward hard-hit rural areas,” said Blunt, the subcommittee chairman, in a news release.


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