July 31, 2019
Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Families are being torn apart by a vicious addiction that has no conscience nor regard for background, position, race, color, or creed.
Another layer to this sad truth reveals that the opioid crisis has taken deep root in our own backyard. Venango County and parts of rural Erie County are hotbeds for OUD (opioid use disorder). Since 2000, these target areas have been demonstrating dramatic rates of increase in maternal stays related to substance use and opioids. Venango County, in particular, held the third highest rate in the state of Pennsylvania in recent statistical data.
And so, it was good news when U.S. Representative Mike Kelly recently announced the release of a $200,000 grant to Hamot Health Foundation in support of opioid response planning. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources. Hamot Health Foundation is the only organization in Pennsylvania to receive the federal grant this year.
Hamot Health Foundation will administer this funding through multiple agencies involved on the front line of the opioid crisis, including Safe Harbor Behavioral Health of UPMC Hamot, Corry Memorial Hospital (designated as a Critical Access Hospital), UPMC Northwest, the Women’s Recovery Center, and the Venango County Substance Abuse Program.
“Rural communities face many challenges and don't have the same resources as urban areas,” states Mandy Fauble, PhD, executive director of Safe Harbor Behavioral Health of UPMC Hamot. “It makes sense to come together and think about ways to ensure that people in rural areas have the same opportunities to gain recovery as urban populations.”