Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a $200,000 grant as part of a $386 million project allowing federal funding to support “End the Epidemic LA” which will aid in the prevention, treatment and recovery of the opioid crisis in rural Louisiana.
End the Epidemic LA was launched in November of 2016 and is the initiative of a consortium composed of the Louisiana Rural Ambulance Alliance and the Louisiana Attorney General’s office. The initiative is dedicated to identifying and supporting treatment for the prevention of substance use disorder in Louisiana through education and outreach. Through the grant award, members have grown and include the Louisiana Association for Behavioral Health in Baton Rouge, Jackson Parish Ambulance Service District in Jonesboro, and Pafford EMS of Ruston.
Since 1999, death by drug overdose has tripled in the state of Louisiana making it among the top ten states for drug overdose death rates. With the occurrence of opioid misuse on the rise, End the Epidemic LA is committed to educating as many Louisiana residents as possible on the risks associated with opioid misuse.
“The opioid epidemic is a pivotal challenge for many rural places,” said Anne Hazlett, US Department of Agriculture Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. “More than a health concern, the opioid crisis is an issue of rural prosperity and will take the commitment, collaboration and creativity of a wide range of partners to address.”
“Through End the Epidemic Louisiana we are committed to reducing the occurrence of opioid misuse through activities such as community and provider education as well as expanding peer recovery and treatment options,” added Andrea Simoneaux, LRAA Consortium Director – End the Epidemic LA.
“The focus of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is multifaceted,” added LRAA CEO, Donna Newchurch, “and includes prevention, treatment and recovery; data on the epidemic; and research on pain and addiction; and pain management; and targeting overdose-reversing drugs. Though there is a long road ahead towards completely alleviating the opioid epidemic, by focusing on each of these factors we are off to a strong start.”
The one-year grant will allow for a deeper dive into research and analytics to identify opportunities and develop a detailed plan to address prevention, treatment and recovery. While focusing on rural areas of the state of Louisiana, End the Epidemic LA will likely influence the entire state. Vist https://www.endtheepidemicla.org for more information.
About the Louisiana Ambulance Alliance
The Louisiana Ambulance Alliance (LAA) is a diverse group of EMS providers who promote emergency medical transport as a distinct concern in Louisiana; serve as a forum for a unified voice for healthcare providers, public officials, healthcare workers, educators and consumers working to improve emergency medical transport in Louisiana; provide a forum for the exchange and distribution of ideas and information related to the improvement of emergency medical transport; serve as an advocate for emergency medical transport, promoting improved health status and improvements to the health system for residents of Louisiana; and encourage the development of appropriate health resources for Louisiana.