Sens. Marshall and Moran Announce Funding to Combat Substance Use Disorders in Eastern Kansas
(Washington, D.C., August 20, 2021) – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. and Jerry Moran announced $1 million in funding awarded to Thrive Allen County by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services across six counties in Eastern Kansas.
“The opioid pandemic has been exacerbated as COVID-19 altered our daily lives and interactions. Now, we must continue progressing forward in the fight against substance use disorders,” said Senator Marshall. “One life adversely affected or lost is one too many. It will take a partnership between local health care and mental health care providers, law enforcement and community leaders. I believe Thrive Allen County and the Southeast Kansas Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition will provide great services to Eastern Kansas in helping to prevent further loss of life and put patients back on a road to long-term recovery.”
“Substance abuse impacts every aspect of our communities, from families to health care providers and local law enforcement,” said Senator Moran. “Rural Kansas communities are in desperate need of financial assistance to combat the opioid crisis, and this HHS grant to Thrive Allen County will provide additional resources as we continue to combat substance abuse, helping Kansans to overcome addiction and live drug-free lives.”
“Thrive Allen County is honored by this opportunity to continue our work with the Southeast Kansas Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition to address opioid misuse in our communities,” said Thrive Allen County President and CEO Lisse Regehr. “We are ready to work across the region to break down barriers for those caught in the opioid epidemic and looking for a way out.”
The project, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, aims to improve access to substance use disorder (SUD) prevention and treatment and enable Kansans to achieve long-term recovery. Specifically, the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, part of a five-point HHS strategy to end the opioid crisis, will equip the rural health advocacy organization with the tools and resources to serve six counties including Allen, Anderson, Woodson, Neosho, Bourbon, and Coffey.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose, and over 70 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved an opioid. Between 2016 and 2018, Congress passed two monumental bipartisan packages to combat the opioid epidemic and communities began seeing progress. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is undoing those efforts. In fact, overdose deaths increased in almost every state during the first eight months of 2020 compared to 2019, with average of 33 percent. In Kansas, drug overdose fatalities increased by 24 percent.
To get rural Kansas back on the road to recovery, the organization will implement several community-based initiatives. This will include transportation services to drug court and SUD counseling, and access to treatment for underserved and low income patients. In addition, the organization aims to improve care coordination across the counties by hiring case managers. According to Thrive, they are set to partner with the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center by helping them add a case manager to their team. For the other coalition members, workgroups will receive funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery. Additional focus areas will include drug takeback programs, continuing education and training, naloxone supplies, and more. Thrive was among 78 organizations nationwide to receive an implementation grant, with each receiving $1 million each. The three-year project is set to launch next month.
Federal funding for this award was made possible by the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Both members supported the legislation’s passage.