Operation UNITE’s Rural Health Opioid Program underway

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 12:31 PM EST
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Operation UNITE’s Rural Health Opioid Program, Provider Education Summit, “Hope Continues,” is the organization’s second summit.

The first summit was held in-person at Hazard Community and Technical College, but due to COVID-19, this year’s summit moved to a virtual platform.

Speakers highlighted issues from the impact COVID-19 has had on substance abuse, domestic violence, and Kentucky’s response to the opioid epidemic. Leaders discussed the federal Rural Health Opioid grant that helps reduce the mortality and morbidity rate in the Kentucky River District.

“With this grant, it allowed us to offer treatment vouchers to anybody residing in the Kentucky River District,” said JoAnn Vanzant with Operation UNITE. “Working with community partners, I cannot stress how important it was in this process,” she added.

More than 600 people joined the summit and participated in break-out sessions that discussed various topics. One topic was the pandemic’s impact on substance abuse and domestic violence.

”The opioid epidemic has never gone away it has never stopped,” said President and CEO Nancy Hale.” “It’s actually been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and this is actually the perfect time for us to renew our purpose,” she added.

The Rural Health Opioid grant also providing transportation for those in treatment and reducing the mortality and morbidity rates.

”We’ve helped in just the two years of the grant,” said Hale. “Thus far 350 people move into treatment, long-term treatment,” she added.

Providers learning how to spread additional help to those who need it most.

”If you take that back home to your community then it’s like lighting a fire,” added Hale.

The summit continues until 4:30 p.m. and you can find a link for more information here.

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