ADAPT, Inc. awarded $2M HRSA grant

Published 10:42 am Friday, August 26, 2022

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ADAPT, Inc., based at 216 Memphis St. in Bogalusa, has been awarded the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) grant, with a start date of Thursday, Sept. 1.

RCORP is a multi-year initiative by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities. The HRSA grant that has been awarded to ADAPT, Inc. is renewable for four consecutive years at $500,000 per year.

ADAPT, Inc. will be the lead agency in implementing Project ADAPT (All Deserve Advocacy, Prevention and Treatment). Other organizations who will be partnering with ADAPT, Inc. in the implementation of the grant include: Florida Parishes Human Services Authority (FPHSA), Southeast Louisiana Volunteers of America (VOA), Our Lady of the Angels Hospital (OLOAH), Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, and B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center. This grant will be wide-reaching into the community, involving parish leaders, organizations, rural health care providers, behavioral health care providers and residents to reduce SUD/OUD among the citizens of Washington Parish.

More than 100,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in April 2021 — the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, according to recent provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). From 1999 through 2019, the rate of drug overdose deaths increased from 4.0 per 100,000 to 19.6 in rural counties. Washington Parish is No. 1 in the state for opioid overdose deaths per capita.

Rural communities face significant challenges in meeting the behavioral health needs of those at risk for and/or experiencing SUD/OUD. Rural residents who use opioids are more likely than their urban counterparts to have socioeconomic vulnerabilities, including limited educational attainment, poor health status, lack of health insurance, and low income, which further limit their abilities to access treatment.

Over the course of a four-year period of performance, RCORP award recipients will implement activities that are aligned with the following overarching program goals:

  • Address structural- and systems-level barriers to improve rural residents’ access to quality, integrated SUD/OUD services.
  • Improve the quality and sustainability of rural behavioral health care services through supporting rural health care providers to offer coordinated, evidence-based, trauma-informed SUD/OUD services.
  • Improve the capacity of the behavioral health care system to address rural community risk factors and social determinants of health that affect the behavioral health of rural residents.

Some specific activities to be addressed by Project ADAPT include:

  • Convening conversations with parish leaders, state policy makers and others on improving broadband access in rural target areas.
  • Utilizing the Health Information Technology (HIT) to provide residents with the choice of using telehealth visits or in-person visits.
  • Employment of a Peer Support Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor to provide direct services to the SUD/OUD population.
  • Provide comprehensive, evidence-based community prevention programs.
  • Promote and schedule Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in the community.
  • Make training available to individuals and groups on using naloxone for harm reduction.
  • Create opportunities for people affected by the opioid epidemic to tell their stories. Citizens need to see substance use disorder not as a moral failing, but as a chronic medical condition that affects a person’s brain.

Rusty Fornea, executive director of ADAPT, Inc., announced that Rhonda Gunnell will serve as the project director and can be contacted for additional information. According to Fornea, this grant funding provides a great opportunity for the community to become more active in combating the problems of substance and opioid use disorders.