News Democrat

$145K grant to fight addiction

By Wayne Gates

Another $145,000 is coming to Brown County to help fight opiate addiction.

The money comes from the federal 21st Century CURES law and has been distributed to the Brown County Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The money is part of $26 million that was distributed statewide.

This is the second year in a row that the funding has been made available.

“This is terrific news for Brown County, and these new funds will help the community’s efforts to combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic gripping our state,” said Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

“I was proud to help secure the opioid funding included in the CURES legislation, and I have seen firsthand how this law is making a difference across our state. This is another positive step forward, but we must do more, and that’s why I continue to push for common-sense solutions like the STOP Act and CARA 2.0 that will help us turn the tide of addiction in Ohio and around the country.”

Brown County BMHAS Director Deanna Vietze said that the history of addiction issues in Brown County led to getting the grant.

“The reason we got the grant was because our unintentional overdose death rate is high. We are Tier 1 in receiving the funding.”

Vietze said that the money has already been spoken for.

“We are continuing the quick response team with the funding. Some of the funding will go to the Brown County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force, some to Talbert House and some to the (Brown County) Health Department.”

Vietze said that some money is also available for drug treatment.

“If we have someone in the county who needs inpatient placement for drug treatment, I have set aside part of these funds for that purpose,” she said.

Some of the money will also go to funding Prevention Point, the needle exchange program through the Brown County Health Department.

“It’s all about preventing disease. If you are going to be injecting yourself with dirty needles, the likelihood of contracting Hepatitis C or HIV is incredibly high,” Vietze said.

A social worker from Talbert House, treatment information and health testing is also available through the program.

Peer Support Services, which uses someone who is living in recovery from addiction to work with individuals who are getting treatment is also being funded.

Vietze said that the drug landscape in Brown County is changing and that the quick response team is changing with it.

“Our overdose rates are down. I’m not going to say that heroin is going away completely, but it doesn’t seem to be the main drug of choice right now,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of folks who are using meth instead. And this isn’t the meth that people used to cook themselves. It’s synthetic.”

Vietze said that the response for meth addiction is different from that of heroin.

“We are not having as many runs with our quick response teams because we are not seeing as many heroin overdoses, so we are trying to open it up to allow anyone who knows someone who is struggling with addiction to let them know so they can try and get them some help.”

If you know someone who might benefit from contact with the quick response team, call (937) 378-3504, extention 105.

Information can be left anonymously.