The Duke Energy Foundation says it will distribute $250,000 in grants to help battle the opioid crisis in parts of rural Indiana. The foundation plans to split the money between two treatment efforts in the west central region of the state.
“Five Hoosiers die from drug overdoses every day, most of it opioid-related,” said Congressman Larry Bucshon, whose district includes the grants’ region of focus.
Ivy Tech Community College will receive $175,000 to teach addiction specialists. The school will team up with the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce to connect those students with potential employers for work-study programs.
The remaining $75,000 is earmarked for Hamilton Center Inc, a behavioral health system in central and west central Indiana. The center is creating a pilot program to help with treatment and job assistance for people with opioid use disorder. “People in recovery need the opportunity to work and be productive employees and citizens, and private/public partnerships like this can certainly assist in addressing community needs,” said Melvin Burks, Hamilton Center’s chief executive officer.
The foundation says lower-income and medically underserved areas often have less access to treatment and trained addiction specialists. The 11-county region identified in this grant has areas of urgent need.
“I hear firsthand from our community leaders about how this crisis affects their workforce and families. Clearly, there is a link between good health and economic well-being, and that’s the focus of this project,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar.