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Posted 12/15/2021

Coalitions Tackling Addiction Together

In September 2021, the National Center for Wellness & Recovery received the Muskogee Opioid Response Coalition (MORC) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The three-year grant totaling $1M will fund the implementation of a work plan developed by a coalition in Muskogee County, Oklahoma to address the increasing number of opioid overdose deaths.

Following a planning grant awarded in 2019, NCWR worked with seven community organizations in Muskogee to develop a plan that would expand the capacity of partnering organizations and target specific needs generated by the opioid crisis. The coalition consists of Neighbors Building Neighborhoods, Gospel Rescue Mission, the Ft Gibson Police Department and the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Green Country Behavioral Health, Celebrate Recovery and Three Rivers Community Health Center, supported by the Cherokee Nation.

“Members of these organizations brought a deep understanding of the needs that existed in their communities in Muskogee County,” said Paul Thomas, NCWR program manager for the MORC grant. “They guided the development of the plan so that when there were implementation resources available, they could immediately begin having a significant impact on their communities’ fight against opioid use disorder and opioid overdose deaths.”

The 2021 implementation grant enables coalition organizations to increase in-patient and out-patient care in Muskogee County, to establish secure and monitored year-round collection sites for unused medications and drugs, as well as permanent syringe disposal sites.

In addition, there is a unique partnership between law enforcement and faith-based organizations in Muskogee County to provide new resources for those arrested for substance-related matters. The goal is to move detainees from a jail cell detoxification setting into a treatment-oriented detoxification setting, and then integrate them into a treatment setting that emphasizes care for substance use, as well as mental and physical health issues.

“The National Center for Wellness & Recovery is very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a great community-based team of organizations and individual leaders,” said Thomas.

Deanne Vick | December 2021