State grant brings training, life-saving overdose drug to region

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – A local organization is taking steps to reduce opioid drug overdoses in our area.

The Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition received a new state grant to bring training and the distribution of the opioid overdose drug Naloxone to our region.

The grant is called the State Targeted Response Grant, with nearly $133,000 coming from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Because of the grant, officials with the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition say this is the first time Naloxone will be widely available for the entire community.

“What it will do is get Naloxone into the hands of people trained to administer it,” said Director of the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition, Alice McCaffrey. “Anyone who thinks they have a need for having Naloxone available.”

McCaffrey said according to the state Department of Health, Sullivan County alone saw 44 overdose opioid deaths in 2014 and 35 in 2015 – numbers she hopes to soon see decrease.

“Getting the Naloxone into the hands of people, it is the critical piece,” she said. “People are dying. This can save lives.”

The grant also calls for a new position to join the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition, a Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist. McCaffrey hopes to get a full time nurse in, someone preferably who has experience with addiction, whether that person is in recovery or has a close family member who has struggled with the disease.

The nurse will be responsible for training and distributing Naloxone regionally.

The Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition is taking applications for that position through July 7. You can find the job post as well as a Naloxone pre-order form on their website, http://www.scadc.org.

The new grant takes effect July 1.

See also: What you should know: 133 new laws take effect July 1 in Tennessee

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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