ASAP gets $20K grant to fight drug epidemic

WARREN — The Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) has a new tool to fight the local drug epidemic.

The coalition received a $20,000 Mercy Health Foundation Community Outreach Grant, according to a news release from Mercy Health. The Mercy Health / New Start Treatment Center, the Mercy Health Foundation and the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board have partnered to stop the opiate and substance abuse epidemic that is affecting families in Trumbull County.

ASAP, a program of the TCMHRB, received the grant to support a series of comprehensive educational events, training and the promotion of substance abuse programming throughout 2017, the release states. This will include expanding Project DAWN, which is a community-based drug overdose education and naloxone distribution program.

“We are happy to be able to support ASAP and the coalition’s prevention efforts in Trumbull County,” said Terri Grimmett, director of the New Start Treatment Center.

Preliminary data shows Trumbull County recorded at least 98 overdose deaths through mid-December 2016, which is a 13 percent increase from 2015. Final numbers won’t be known until toxicology reports for several deaths are complete.

“Mercy Health has been a critical member of the ASAP Coalition,” said Lauren Thorp, project director of ASAP. “The financial support the organization has given us allows us to continue our work of addressing high rates of drug related crimes, providing community education, and leading community wide change.”

The partnership will not only help drive dialogue and awareness, but also has initiated the development of safe med-drop locations so that families can dispose of prescription medications throughout the Mercy Health Youngstown network, with St. Joseph Warren Hospital being the first as of this month.