Federal grants help rural communities battle the opioid crisis

1 month 1 day 20 hours ago Thursday, September 20 2018 Sep 20, 2018 Thursday, September 20, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT September 20, 2018 in News
By: Kara Strickland, KOMU 8 Reporter
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MOBERLY - More than 100 counties are getting $25 million to combat the opioid crisis, and Randolph County is one of them.

Randolph County Caring Community, Inc. will see $200,000 in the near future, through a grant funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The according to the agency, the money was granted to help with access to substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural communities.

Chelsea Zabski, a staff member at Randolph County Caring Community, said the money will be used to create a prevention plan.

“This whole grant is based on getting key stakeholders together and making a plan for how you’re going to address the issue,” Zabski said.

She said the grant will allow the organization focus on strategic planning and training.

“One of the problems in our community is we have a lack of providers, especially for substance abuse treatment, so our training will go into getting our current professionals elevated so that they’re ready to address the issue,” Zabski said.

She said the grant will allow the community to get ahead of the opioid problem as a whole.

“We’re going to have law enforcement, emergency responders, community partners, the faith based community. It’s really going to let us bring people together more collectively to get ahead of this problem,” Zabski said.

Sharon Whisenand, the deputy administrator at the Randolph County Health Department said the grant will bring good changes to the community.

“This is such an innovative project and it’s just exciting that we have the opportunity to work with Caring Communities on this,” she said.

Zabski said one of the key issues facing the county is the inability to track who gets how many prescription drugs.

Christian Tadrus, a pharmacist in Moberly, said Missouri does not have a prescription drug monitoring program that could make tracking the opioid prescription patterns easier.

“There’s a bit of a blind spot from the standpoint of a pharmacy, not being able to see what’s being used and utilized in the community,” Tadrus said.

He said it is important for pharmacists to be a part of the conversation when a community is trying to tackle the opioid crisis.

The grant to Randolph County Caring Community is part of a $1 billion initiative by the department of Health and Human Services.

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