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Indiana agencies partner to help those with addiction issues

Denise Poukish, senior vice president for Forensic Services at LifeSpring Health Systems.
Denise Poukish, senior vice president for Forensic Services at LifeSpring Health Systems.

A recent partnership between two community agencies in Clark County is helping identify people with addiction issues and provide the help they need. 

Project Cares, an initiative between the Jeffersonville Police Department and LifeSpring Health Systems, is meant to help combat the steady number of overdoses in the county. It started in August, funded through a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Officers refer people who may need help to LifeSpring staff, and a response team – which includes a social worker, officers and peer recovery coach – follows up. With overdoses, the goal is to reconnect with the person between 24 and 72 hours after the incident. 

“I do think that outreach and being able to respond pretty quickly after someone has had an overdose and the utilization of a peer … who has had their own lived experience and can relate really well to where that person is at has been part of the real success of this,” said Denise Poukish, senior vice president of Forensic Services at LifeSpring. 

Since its start several months ago, Jeffersonville Police Assistant Chief Scott McVoy said officers have made 51 personal contacts with people, 41 of whom have been able to receive some type of service at LifeSpring. 

“If we can get 41 people to the door of LifeSprings to better their life either health-wise, or mentally, or have them not rely on substance abuse, that is a huge success for the community,” he said. 

McVoy said they’ve also reached out via phone to more than 80 people, some who may live in other areas. 

The team also does other outreach at places like homeless encampments and has also connected with people who have been cited or arrested for drug-related offenses. 

“We see where they’re at, try to meet them where they're at: if they're interested in medication-assisted treatment, if they’re interested in outpatient services, inpatient services, if they’re just wanting information on the syringe exchange program, if they’re having homeless issues," she said.

More information about services offered at LifeSpring can be found at www.lifespringhealthsystems.org


Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.