Alisha Foster,Program Coordinator; Sherrie Crabb, CEO; and Kerie Foster, Chief Strategy Officer
The Health Resources & Services Administration has announced 89 organizations across the nation receiving grants for the implementation of Rural Communities Opioid Response Programs (RCORP). One of only two Illinois grantees, Family Counseling Center, Inc. has been awarded $1,000,000 to strengthen and expand prevention, treatment and recovery services for substance use disorders—including opioid use disorder—in Hardin County and Pope County.
Beginning in September, the three year initiative will be focused on reducing the morbidity and mortality resulting from substance use disorders. This implementation will build upon the results of a two year planning phase aimed at determining the best ways to address substance use in Hardin County, the first year of which was grant-funded. The agency found the work important enough that it continued the second year self-funded in the hopes of receiving the implementation grant.
“This will be a true community effort,” explained CEO Sherrie L. Crabb. “We have several consortium partners that will help including the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Southern 7 Health Department, Hardin County General Hospital, Prevention First, Hardin County Sheriff’s Department and Pope County Sheriff’s Department.”
Pope County was added by the RCORP Consortium to be included in the implementation based up having similar demographic, socioeconomic and substance use trends to Hardin County. It became apparent during the data collection phase that Pope County residents were also represented, demonstrating the urgent need for the county to have a response to its own substance use and opioid use and consequences.
Based on the results of the work done during the planning grant, Family Counseling Center, Inc. and other members of the RCORP Consortium will utilize the awarded funds to improve recovery support by way of coordination with inpatient treatment facilities and criminal justice systems, expanding peer support intervention, recruiting recovery support groups, investigating a recovery support hotline, developing a Recovery Committee and recovery activities and developing a plan for a Recovery Community Organization.
Additional activities will include conducting enhanced training and education opportunities, improving opioid prescribing practices, facilitating Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain workshops, purchasing opioid agonist medications—including naloxone—for underinsured and uninsured patients and investigating the need to perform minor renovations to integration efforts.
Crabb credited Chief Strategy Officer Kerie Moore and Program Coordinator Alisha Foster for spearheading both the planning grant efforts and the application process for the implementation grant and anticipates multiple levels of benefit to the community.
“We can’t thank Alisha and Kerie enough for their hard work and dedication to the planning of this project over the past two years! This is going to have a tremendous impact on Pope and Hardin counties. Not only will this address the direct needs in regards to substance use disorder but this is also bringing dollars into our region that ultimately create jobs and opportunity for the members of our community. That’s how Human Service works.”