The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $1 million grant to the Henderson County Substance and Opioid Control Coalition (Henderson CoSOC) to help combat the opioid and drug abuse crisis facing the community. The funding will support the HOPE Project, which seeks to expand, enhance and sustain access to evidence-based, culturally and linguistically tailored opioid and substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services in the community.
Henderson CoSOC is a collaboration of four consortium organizations: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, led by Dr. Harrison Ndetan (principal investigator and project director) and Dr. Emmanuel Elueze (co-principal investigator and chair of the East Texas Opioid and Substance Abuse Control Coalition); UT Health East Texas Athens, led by Dr. Richard David; East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ETCADA), led by Ms. Linda Oyer; Henderson HELP Center, led by Ms. Leslie Saunders and a new collaboration with the East Texas Community Clinic under the leadership of Mr. Glen Robertson. The coalition has established three task forces, an advisory board and a data monitoring and evaluation committee to help support its efforts.
The goal of the coalition is to address the shortage in substance abuse services in Henderson County by enhancing access to substance and opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services.
“The drug use and overdose death rate in Henderson County far exceeds the state of Texas, and is higher than the national average. This devastating problem within our community requires large-scale solutions with long-lasting impact,” said Harrison Ndetan, MPH, MD, PhD, associate professor of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UT Health Science Center at Tyler. “This can only be achieved by all of us in the community coming together, galvanizing our resources and working toward the same goal.”
The Henderson CoSOC HOPE Project will support the implementation of sustainable and culturally appropriate programs to address the needs of Henderson County. Their specific aims include:
1. Improving awareness, screening, prevention workforce and community resources for substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) prevention
2. Increasing access to SUD/OUD treatment services
3. Expanding and enhancing recovery services to patients with SUD/OUD
The coalition believes that community action is vital to the success of project HOPE, and is calling on residents, business leaders, healthcare providers, law enforcement, government and nongovernmental agencies and faith-based organizations to get involved.