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5:32 AM Wed, Dec. 12th

County to use grant funds for opioid addiction services

(Mohave County Public Health Department courtesy)

(Mohave County Public Health Department courtesy)

KINGMAN – The Mohave County Public Health Department received a nearly $80,000 grant that will help fill gaps in treatment for opioid addiction.

County supervisors last week approved the $79,985 grant, which will provide funding for a full-time community health education specialist, a part-time community health education specialist and a part-time epidemiologist.

The new positions are temporary, set to last between eight and nine months. The community health education specialists will focus on enhancing services for patients and creating a smoother transition from one form of care to another, said Michelle Valandingham, drug overdose prevention coordinator for the health department.

Valandingham said the new positions are necessary to fill gaps sometimes created as patients transition from one form of care to another. For instance, if a person leaves a crisis center but needs continued long-term care, the new employees will help connect the patient to those resources and make sure the patient continues to receive care.

“There’s always gaps in service and care and we’re trying to fill those gaps,” she said.

The part-time epidemiologist will focus on tracking data related to opioid addiction, overdose and deaths, Valandingham said. The employee will work backward to try to track where the problem started, communicating with emergency medical services, hospitals and poison control and other entities to collect as much data as they can obtain and record.

Valandingham said the health department will try to identify new grants or other funds that could be used to keep the positions longer than nine months.

“If it’s something that we’re able to sustain the county would take those opportunities,” she said.

The jobs should be posted on the county website within the next month. For those interested in helping or learning more about opioid addiction solutions in the county, the Mohave Substance Abuse Treatment Education and Prevention Partnership is a community program that works with the county’s overdose prevention program. The community program accepts volunteers and meets the third Tuesday of each month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Kingman Police Department. For more information on the program, contact Valandingham at michelle.valandingham@mohavecounty.us.