wins $6.5M to aid opioid fight
W.Va. – West Virginia can intervene on behalf of more at-risk
children, steer more troubled adults toward harm-reduction services, and extend
telehealth further into rural areas after securing $6.5 million from a federal
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based
Program, or COAP, supports innovative ways to encourage substance abuse
treatment and recovery. Justice and Community Services, part of the Department
of Military Affairs and Public Safety, successfully applied for funding
reserved for statewide projects.
Awarded by the Bureau of Justice
Assistance at the U.S. Department of Justice, the grant endorses a strategy
focused on three goals: early intervention and prevention; diversion; and
The funding will expand and improve Handle
With Care to achieve the first goal. Handle With Care seeks to prevent children
from being exposed to trauma and violence, and lessen the negative effects when
they are. Overseen by the Center for Children’s Justice at the W.Va. State
Police, it recognizes schools and child care agencies as key to effective
“Handle with Care is a community
partnership between law enforcement, schools and mental health providers to
help children succeed every day to the very best of their ability despite any
childhood adversities they have had or are currently experiencing,” said Center
Director Andrea Darr.
The grant will similarly aid the West
Virginia Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)
program. Part of a growing national
initiative, LEAD pursues community-based supportive services as an alternative
to the criminal justice system in appropriate cases involving such low-level
offenses as drug possession. The Office of Drug Control Policy at the W.Va.
Department of Health and Human Resources supports the LEAD program.
“The Office of Drug Control Policy is
proud to partner with agencies like DMAPS to combat West Virginia’s substance
use epidemic,” said Director Bob Hansen. “The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse
Site-based Program is critical to supporting and strengthening ongoing
The LEAD portion of the grant funding will
specifically focus on Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Webster, and Wirt
counties, as they lack diversion programs. Those counties would also see the
expanded and enhanced telehealth services aided by the grant. This will allow
residents there to receive psychiatric evaluations, treatment planning,
individual and group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy,
medication-assisted treatment, and peer recovery support services.
The statewide project will competitively
award sub-grants to pursue its goals over a three-year period. Justice and
Community Services will carry out and monitor the project alongside the Office
of Drug Control Policy, DHHR’s Bureau of Behavioral Health, and the Office of
Research and Strategic Planning. The latter and JCS are both part of DMAPS’
Division of Administrative Services.
DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy praised Gov.
Jim Justice for his leadership in the fight against the opioid epidemic, crediting
Justice for spearheading efforts in West Virginia to obtain the funds needed to
support programs helping those battling addiction and their loved ones.
“Gov. Justice has been absolutely
clear that finding ways to end the opioid crisis and to support those
struggling with addiction are among his very top priorities,” Sandy said. “The governor’s
commitment to this issue has provided us the freedom to work to acquire grants
like this and others as we seek to do our part to turn the tide against