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Southern Indiana to receive more than $600K in state grants to help with addiction recovery efforts

Dr. Eric Yazel is in front of a cart of supplies at the Clark County Health Department's syringe exchange program.
Southern Indiana will receive more than $600,000 in state matching grants to help with addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services. Pictured in this 2020 file photo is Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel explaining the different services the county's syringe exchange program offers.

Southern Indiana agencies will receive more than $600,000 in matching state grants to help with addiction recovery efforts — part of a multi-state settlement with drug companies accused of fueling the opioid crisis.

The awards are part of $19 million dollars in recently announced state grants. Those funds come from Indiana’s portion of a $26 billion multi-state settlement with drug companies accused of fueling the opioid crisis. Organizations will use the money to help with addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services.

More than $442,000 will go toward the Clark County VIP program, and the county will match it dollar for dollar. Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said it will help agencies focus on vulnerable populations and health care discrepancies — both within the framework of the opioid epidemic and with a broader community health view.

He said part of the funding will go toward expanding services for women in recovery and their families at The Family Ark.

“We're excited about that service, because this is really a hole in our recovery community over on the Indiana side of the river,” Yazel said. “So this is a great opportunity to have moms in recovery and keep families together.”

Another beneficiary, Thrive RCO [Recovery Community Organization], will use some funding in part to bolster peer coaching and to help people who are incarcerated transition from jail to their communities.

Yazel said the Clark County Health Department will use part of the grant for a mobile health program. Yazel said that will include having first responders do follow-up visits to the homes of people who recently survived an overdose, to help connect them to services.

He said the financial support is important to step up programming needed in the wake of the opioid crisis, even though the payments don’t make up for the part these companies played in making it happen.

“I know people all over the county who have been personally affected by this, and [this is] not going to bring their loved ones back,” he said. “But at least it shows…that we're using what we've learned from this to try to make it better so this doesn't happen to our community members in the future.”

Floyd County will be awarded just over $180,000 from the state grants to hire and train a jail transition coordinator, to connect people to recovery services upon release from custody.

Indiana is expected to receive around $507 million over 18 years as part of this national settlement. That funding will be split between the state and local governments. The $19 million in grants announced last week comes from the state’s allocation of the settlement. More information on Indiana’s plans for using the settlement funds can be found here.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

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

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