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St. Claire HealthCare and NE KY Substance Use Response Coalition Awarded $1 Million Grant Project

St. Claire HealthCare and NE KY Substance Use Response Coalition Awarded $1 Million Grant Project

St. Claire HealthCare, on behalf of the Eastern Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition, was recently awarded a three-year, $1 million, Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) – Implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The coalition, which includes representatives from Achieving Recovery Together, the Clark County Health Department, Comprehend Inc., the Gateway District Health Department, the Eastern Kentucky Regional Health Information Organization, the Eastern Kentucky Area Health Education Center, Pathways Inc., St. Claire HealthCare, and Tri-State Primary Care, is one of six Kentucky organizations awarded this competitive federal grant.

This funding will allow the coalition to establish “First Day Forward,” a jail re-entry program that will connect recently released individuals who struggle with substance use disorder to vital community resources in an attempt to give them a true “First Day Forward” following incarceration.

“We’re thrilled to have been selected,” said David A. Gross, St. Claire HealthCare’s Administrative Director for Education and Research, who will oversee the project. “St. Claire and its partners in the Eastern Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition have done amazing work in addressing the region’s opioid epidemic since 2017, and we’re grateful to be able to continue those efforts. The topic of jail re-entry has truly become a passion project for me, my staff, and the coalition.”

This concept of changing jail re-entry for those who struggle with addiction was created by the coalition after interviewing inmates within local detention centers as a part of an RCORP – Planning II grant project.

Other focuses for the project include youth prevention education to be presented within the school systems, training for medical professionals surrounding medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and HIV/Hepatitis C treatment, and other broader community education initiatives such as stigma reduction, naloxone distribution, and drug take-back programs.

The service area for this project will include Clark, Mason, and Powell counties and begins September 1, 2020.

"Through the First Day Forward initiative, many of our most vulnerable rural residents will have access to the treatment and recovery services they so desperately need,” said Donald H. Lloyd, II, St. Claire HealthCare President/CEO. “We are tremendously grateful for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for his assistance in securing this competitive federal grant and his continued support in the fight against the opioid epidemic in Eastern Kentucky.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) contacted HRSA in support of his constituents’ grant applications and their life-saving missions.

“In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky remains focused on treating those suffering from substance abuse. I was proud to help these programs receive vital federal funding to serve rural communities around our Commonwealth,” said Senator McConnell. “Since I became Senate Majority Leader, I’ve worked to mobilize the federal government to respond to the scourge of addiction with prevention, treatment, and enforcement efforts. Kentucky is leading the fight against addiction, and it’s a privilege to join these devoted professionals to help us win.”

Since May 2019, St. Claire has been awarded nearly $3 million in federal grants to address the opioid epidemic. This includes a $900,000 competitive federal grant Senator McConnell helped secure from HRSA in June 2020 to provide MAT services in collaboration with the Eastern Kentucky Substance Use Response Coalition.

For more information, contact KaLeigh Underwood at 606.783.6506 or