Chelsea Schneider, Innovations Content Manager, Aim

Kokomo organizations focused on substance abuse prevention recently received grants to boost their efforts.

The Mayor’s Community-Based Council on Substance Abuse Prevention divvied out $36,000 in grants to local organizations. The funding is aimed at fighting the opioid crisis and substance abuse.

“Indiana’s opioid epidemic and other substance abuse disorders are devastating to families and our city,” Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said. “I’m proud of the council’s recognition of this crucial need as we provide these non-profit partners with the financial resources to effectively address and treat people and families.”

Grants were given to a before- and after-school enrichment program at the YMCA, the Howard County’s Family Recovery Court, among other organizations.

“The council is pleased to fund our local partners that are providing direct intervention, prevention and treatment through long-term recovery services,” said Rob Pruett, director of the council. “These organizations are led by outstanding individuals dedicated to being a part of Kokomo’s substance abuse treatment network.”

The group is the local coordinating council for the Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana, which was established under former Gov. Evan Bayh. All 92 counties have a council, whose work is funded by court fees. In turn, those fees are used to offer grants in areas of education, treatment and prevention, and criminal justice, Pruett said. Kokomo’s funds have gone toward a variety of programs, including many directed toward substance abuse prevention among youth. This spring, a school will use grant funding to simulate a mock car crash as a visual reminder of issues surrounding substance abuse.

Kokomo’s council is just one of many programs spearheaded by local leaders to prevent substance abuse. Recently, Winchester opened a residential treatment program to help mothers recover from drug addiction. In one of the facility’s most important features: A mother’s children can stay with her as she seeks treatment – a proven strategy to boost the chances of her long-term recovery. Thanks to a new state pilot, the facility also will treat expectant mothers in hopes of preventing babies from being born addicted to drugs.

Winchester is partnering with the Volunteers of America to operate the facility, which state leaders see as a model for other cities and towns to implement. The therapy and addiction treatment organization runs a similar program in Indianapolis at The Fresh Start Recovery Center. The program is centered on providing intensive residential addiction treatment to mothers, while creating opportunities for them to bond with their children.

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