The Mental Health Center receives grant to address opioid epidemic

The Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama received $58,750 opioid grant

Opioid abuse is a national emergency killing dozens of people each and every day. The Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama received federal funding to address the problem.

Lisa Coleman is the executive director of the Mental Health Center. Coleman has worked with thousands of adults with substance abuse problems. She said she has seen an increase of people who misuse prescription drugs.

"A lot of times the opiate use starts with just an injury or cancer and somebody might just start taking an opiate for medical purposes, and then become addicted and then it becomes spiraling out of control," Coleman said.

A $58,750 grant from the Alabama Department of Mental Health will allow the center to educate the community about the opioid crisis.

"It's a two-year grant and we certainly hope  that the funds will continue after that, but certainly it will allow us to get out in the community and reach a lot of people," said development officer William Giguere. 

The Mental Health Center will team up with schools and local law enforcement to raise community awareness.

"We're going to work with our partners, we're going to provide training materials to pass out flyers, billboards, working with our JPO's, anything and anybody that we can work with to help prevent this crisis,” said Coleman. 

The center said it also wants to work with hospitals to look at ways to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions written. It also hopes to hold an annual conference addressing prescription drug abuse. 

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