SMA Healthcare is expanding its substance use disorder service continuum in Putnam County. On September 1, SMA was awarded the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation Grant. The goal of this program, as defined by HRSA, is to strengthen and expand substance use and opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery service delivery in high-risk rural communities, ultimately helping rural resident’s access treatment and move towards recovery.

Putnam’s population has experienced increased risk over the past five years to substance use and opioid use disorders, including neonatal abstinence syndrome.  More than 1 in 4 Putnam County residents are currently living in poverty.

The funds provided through this federal grant may be the only means by which our residents will be able to seek treatment and establish and maintain recovery. Through this grant we will be able to develop a network of training and collaboration through Extension for Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO).  We will be able to provide and train family members on the use of Narcan, a lifesaving medication. Narcan can revive someone who has overdosed on an opioid.  We will be able to provide medication assisted treatment and counseling to those people suffering with an opioid use disorder.

Finally, through our partnership with Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FAADA) and Floridians for Recovery (FFR), we will create a Recovery Community Organization (RCO).  An RCO is a non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. The sole mission of an RCO is to mobilize resources within and outside of the recovery community to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions.

Public education, policy advocacy and peer-based recovery support services are the strategies through which this mission is achieved.  With these options for treatment, people will be able to start on their road to recover and lead productive lives.

We are so grateful for the partnerships we have within the community who are now tasked with, and invested in, making this project a success.  These partners include the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Palatka Police Department, Putnam Community Medical Center, Putnam County Health Department, Putnam County Fire/Emergency Medical Services, Azalea Health, Career Source, FAADA, FFR and the Medical University of South Carolina’s Extension for Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO).

The period of this grant is September 1, 2019 through August 31, 2022.