More than 1,300 people died in Missouri in 2016 due to opioid abuse.
A new $1 million grant and program at a Missouri health provider is an example of efforts to bring those numbers down.
The grant to Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield is from the Missouri Foundation for Health. It’ll be used over a three-year period among several organizations to fight not just addiction but any other underlying issues that may keep people addicted.
“I think in the past we have just dealt with the addiction and not dealt with the whole person and their needs,” said Kevin Gipson, executive director of Jordan Valley Family Health Foundation.
He says the work starts with medically assisted therapy. Jordan Valley Community Health Center will provide therapies, case management, and primary care services.
Gipson says the foundation will partner with the Springfield Health Department, Community Partnership of the Ozarks and One Door.
“We think that with these wrap-around services dealing with other social determinants that may have caused, or at least been a part of their addiction in the first place – like housing issues, employment, maybe legal services, that we can use other means as well to help them kick the habit,” Gipson said.
At the national level, Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of the Fourth District, says the same all-around-method is being taken.
“It’s not just one thing, it’s all aspects,” she said.
On Wednesday, she says Congress passed more than 60 pieces of legislation to help in the fight against opioid abuse.
“We’ve got to do a lot of prevention, which a lot of our bills look at alternative ways to deal with pain,” Rep. Hartzler said. “How to dispose of [prescription drugs], Narcan, other law enforcement efforts. So, it’s an all-of-the-above approach.”
Gipson says with that approach the chances of someone getting off the drugs increases.
“You have to treat the whole person; you can’t deal just with the addiction,” he said.
Gipson says the goal is to reach 750 people and help them end their addiction. He says many times people are referred to the Jordan Valley program from the ER or drug court, but sometimes people do come in on their own.
Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this story