Employee & Family Resources (EFR) was recently awarded the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) Opioid Prevention Grant. The grant provides funding to help prevent the progression of opioid substance abuse within the state of Iowa. EFR received grants for Polk and Jasper counties.
The grant was created in response to the nationwide increase in opioid overdoses and deaths. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the legal prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others, as well as the illicit drug heroin. In Iowa alone in 2016, there were 2,274 opioid treatment admissions, 67 opioid overdose deaths and 146 opioid-related deaths (source: Iowa Department of Public Health).
“Opioids are so dangerous because they are so readily available,” states EFR’s Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Hayley Nemmers. “As people use opioids repeatedly – such as prescribed pain relievers – their tolerance increases and they may not be able to maintain their original source for medication. This could lead them to take more pills than prescribed or turn to cheaper, and more risky substitutes like heroin.”
The goals of the first year of the five-year grant include projects, such as: collecting data on opioid abuse and overdoses from statewide and county-wide sources, assembling community coalitions to address opioid abuse, and planning projects with key stakeholders within each county to create effective prevention strategies.
Plans are already in the works to utilize the grant in Polk and Jasper County, including:
- Conducting a town hall meeting on opioids to inform and educate key stakeholders and the Polk County community.
- Working side-by-side with the Jasper County Substance Abuse Coalition to facilitate upcoming projects.
For more information on EFR’s substance abuse prevention initiative, check out our substance abuse services.