TERRE HAUTE - A $750,000 federal grant will support the launch of an effort designed to combat the opioid epidemic in rural Hoosier communities. The support from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will fund the Indiana Opioid Consortium for three years. Amnah Anwar will serve as program director of the consortium, which will be made up of seven clinical and educational partners throughout the state.

The initiative will focus on prevention, increasing the availability of behavioral health services and ensuring opioid treatment facility associates have necessary training and tools.

Consortium participants are:

  • Indiana Rural Health Association/Indiana Rural Schools Clinic Network/Indiana Statewide Rural Health Network
  • Fayette Regional Health System in Fayette County
  • University Health Bedford Hospital in Lawrence County
  • Logansport Memorial Hospital in Cass County
  • New Avenues in South Bend
  • WhiteBark Health Academy in Terre Haute
  • Maryland-based mdlogix

Anwar cited Center for Disease Control data that show Indiana has experienced a 500 percent increase in drug poisoning deaths since 1999. She added "Indiana has seen an astoundingly high level of opioid prescriptions per capita."

 Indiana Rural Health Association Executive Director Don Kelso says "we're pleased and privileged that such a high-level experienced team of partners will serve with Dr. Anwar to combat this epidemic. These medical and educational groups are expected to effectively join with community partners to address critical issues of this emerging crisis."