Thrive gets $100K grant to fight opioid epidemic


Local News

July 6, 2018 - 11:00 PM

A $100,000 federal grant will help Thrive Allen County begin a fight against the opioid epidemic in southeast Kansas. Thrive announced the grant in its newsletter this week.

The organization also announced plans to hire a Rural Health Development Planning Manager to develop a Southeast Kansas Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition (SEKDAP) for the counties of Allen, Wilson and Woodson.

Those three counties, along with Rawlins in northwest Kansas, were among 220 U.S. counties identified by the CDC in 2016 of having a high risk for a spike in HIV infections tied to intravenous drug use. The CDC based the list on the number of fatal overdoses and the number of intravenous opioid users who contracted hepatitis C, another blood-borne infection spread through contaminated needles.

Thrive also cited reports that from 2012-2014, Allen County’s rate of deaths by drug poisoning was 33 per 100,000, well above the national average of 13.9 per 100,000 and the state’s average of 11.9 per 100,000. It’s a recent trend, Thrive noted; a report from 2006-2012 cited a rate of 18.1 per 100,000. At one point, Allen County registered 157 opioid prescriptions for every 100 residents but that number has since been reduced, Thrive reported late last year (at that time, there were 96 prescriptions per 100 residents).

Thrive organized an “Opioid Dialogue” in October 2017 to discuss and examine the problem in Allen County. A group of about 50 — including mental health and health care professionals, representatives from the court system, law enforcement, firefighters and teachers — gathered to discuss the abuse and misuse of prescription drugs and to determine if there are ways to collaborate and find solutions. Some of the needs identified at the meeting included seeking greater collaboration between agencies, seeking alternative treatments for pain, better educating the public and seeking more funding for treatment. Attendees noted the meeting was just a first step.

With the grant, another step is being taken.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service awarded the money to Thrive as a year-long planning grant to create the SEKDAP coalition to address opioid abuse in Allen, Wilson and Woodson counties. The new Rural Health Development Planning Manager will develop the SEKDAP coalition, oversee collaboration with relevant entities, and collect and evaluate data.

Thrive is accepting applications for the new position. To apply or learn more about the position, go to:

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