Clark County CARES hosted a stakeholder summit in May at the Market Street Inn in Jeffersonville in an effort to break down isolated departments and pool resources in the fight against opioid abuse. The group, which started in 2015, has been awarded $75,000 for outreach and capacity building. 

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Coalitions in Clark and Scott counties that are working to fight the drug crisis are among 10 in the state to each be awarded $75,000 in state grants to help develop and improve their coalitions.

Clark County CARES, Scott County Partnership Inc. and Get Healthy, Scott County partnered during the grant process and will receive $150,000 to split.

"We've partnered with them before," said Carolyn King, Clark County CARES member. "The state really liked the idea of a cross-county collaboration and since we use a lot of the same providers, it just made sense."

The grant starts March 1 and, according to a news release from Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, is aimed at helping the coalitions identify gaps in service, measure outcomes, build their capacity and outreach, and develop recovery-oriented systems of care.

"As we continue to attack the drug crisis, effective local coalitions are our partners on the front lines," Holcomb stated in the release. "These grants will help empower them to come alongside more Hoosiers who are in need of care."

King said that Clark County CARES, which started in 2015, has "been very proactive with very little money so far," she said, adding that "we need to get to that next level, of outreach and training and just being totally recovery oriented and giving people in recovery a voice in what's happening."

While the specifics have not been finalized, part of their funding is expected to be used to help build a recovery system of care, getting people who are in recovery together, training some as peer coaches to support one another.

Scott County, whose coalition is a bit older than Clark County CARES, has already been working on such a foundation, King said.

"They helped each other in their recovery process but also celebrated their recovery in a way that helped reduce stigma," she said. "And that's the big part of it, where people are coming out in the open saying 'I have this disease, I am now better, you can be better, too,' and get people out of hiding with it.

"Nobody is a better teacher than somebody who's been through it."

She said some of the funding also will go to help extend outreach into wider Clark County.

"Right now, it has been focused primarily on the Jeffersonville area but we want to do outreach like to Henryville, Charlestown, Borden, areas like that, getting people involved in their own communities and ways they can help each other there, too."

"It's making stronger coalitions throughout the county, so people know where they can access help and they can communicate more."

Other county coalitions selected to receive grant money are the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County; the Four County Counseling Center in Cass County; One Community One Family, and Dearborn Recovery Oriented System of Care in Dearborn County; Hancock Health in Hancock County; Turning Point in Howard County; Samaritan Center in Knox County; INSTEP in Marion County; and the St. Joseph County Health Improvement Alliance, and Partnership for the Education and Prevention of Substance Use in St. Joseph County.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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