In order to fight the opioid epidemic that’s affecting the lives of St. Louis County residents, the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health has been awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The two grants, totaling $1 million will be used to fund efforts over a three-year period, according to St. Louis County officials.
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said this funding will help reduce the number of victims in the county.
“Heroin remains a deadly epidemic in our region,” Stenger said in a written statement. “Over the past eight years, more than 2,700 area residents have died from a heroin or opioid-related overdoses. These two grants will greatly enhance our ability to address this deadly threat.”
The first grant will provide $400,000 over two years to enhance the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The second grant will provide $600,000 over three years to support collaboration with partners across the state on sharing innovative ideas and solutions to address the heroin and opiate issues.
The grants also cover the participation costs for all current and potential participating jurisdictions for two years.
The two grants were awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dr. Faisal Khan, director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health said the funding allows the department to handle the crisis more efficiently.
“Given the scope of the current crisis, we’re using all the tools at our disposal to combat the problem,” Khan said. “These grants will expand our capacity to continue to address this as a public health priority.”
St. Louis County first applied for the grant on behalf of all Missouri jurisdictions. A portion of the grant will be used to help pay for the costs for participating counties. The grant will also support the hiring of an additional PDMP staff member, and provide funds for engagement, education, and reporting.
The second grant will fund regional collaboration and will also support the hiring of an additional staff member. The expanded program will permit increased regional collaboration to spread innovative solutions to other areas dealing with this critical issue, the development of community- based interventions, and evaluation of the effort.
As part of the collaborative effort, St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia and Springfield are partnering to collect and share regional information.