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Federal Grant to Focus on Opioid Crisis in Windham County

As part of the Windham County Consortium on Substance Use, HCRS has been awarded more than $190,000 through a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This essential funding will allow the consortium to develop a plan to help address the opioid crisis in Windham County. HCRS will act as the fiscal agent for this project. Other members of the consortium include the Vermont Department of Health, Southern Vermont Area Health Education Center, Grace Cottage Hospital, Windham County Prevention Partnership, AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro Retreat, and Turning Point Recovery Center of Windham County.

These nine members represent diverse organizations within Windham County who have a long history of working together on community substance use issues. These long standing community partners came together to develop the successful grant proposal over a 3-month period. The grant will provide a much needed opportunity to advance their collaborative efforts to a higher level.  The group will be assessing current gaps and resources in order to develop a strategic plan to uniquely address issues of substance abuse, primarily from opioids, within Windham County. In addition, the Consortium plans to recruit additional members from other segments of the community to ensure that all resources are gathered and needs are considered.

Windham County is a high-risk community for substance use disorder and is one of 220 high-risk rural counties identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being at highest risk for HIV and Hepatitis C infections due to injection drug use.

“The need for addressing the opioid crisis in our communities is great,” says George Karabakakis, Ph.D., CEO of HCRS. “We are so pleased that our grant proposal was approved, allowing this consortium of community partners to come together to address this critical issue.”

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said:  ”Vermont has taken a lead in fighting against this terrible epidemic that has touched every Vermont family and community. With this grant, Windham County will tackle this problem directly with local, coordinated solutions. As Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to make grants like this a high priority so that Vermont communities can have a strong federal partner in tackling this scourge. Too many Vermonters are suffering. We must do everything we can to address this epidemic.”