By Angela Morefield
A $35,000 grant from Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) will aid Indiana cities and towns, including Beech Grove, in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
The grant was announced during a press conference held July 22 at Beech Grove City Hall. The additional funding brings RALI’s contribution toward Indiana initiatives to a total of $85,000.
The additional grant awarded to Aim, or Accelerate Indiana Municipalities, follows the overwhelming response to the Aim Drug and Opioid Abuse Grant program, a program Aim created with the initial $50,000 from RALI to provide targeted community grants to individual municipalities. Aim will distribute $85,000 and 20,000 safe drug disposal bags across 23 city and town governments in Indiana, including the city of Beech Grove.
“Leaders in every city and town in Indiana have developed their own unique approach to help their neighbors and constituents affected by this crisis, but often lack the resources to move forward,” said Matt Greller, Aim Chief Executive Officer.
Launched in July 2018, RALI is a diverse coalition of business and community leaders, patient organizations and other healthcare stakeholders dedicated to finding and supporting solutions to end the opioid crisis. RALI Indiana has partnered with Aim to address misuse across Indiana, committing to ensure all corners of the state have access to education and necessary resources.
Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said, “Attacking this crisis begins at the local level. We are thankful for these new resources because we believe the funds will actually help save lives by allowing us to teach more of our neighbors about the signs of addiction and where they can find help.”
Beech Grove medics, firefighters and police officers responded to more than 160 reports of drug misuse last year. More than 100 of those cases required the use of Narcan. With the help of Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug Free Coalition (CDFC) steps are being accomplished through education and response to the crisis. CDFC and the city of Beech Grove were chosen for the new funding to enhance the efforts of response to the opioid epidemic. State Representative Cindy Kirchhofer said, “It will truly take all of us together to bring this crisis under control.”
CDFC is a group of partners in health care, law enforcement, education and local government with the mission of teaching the community about the signs of substance abuse. Few people realize these signs can start as early as grade school. “Our goal is to also to reduce the stigma of addiction. Helping people understand that addiction is a disease just like any other,” Diana Hendricks, Executive Director of the board for the CDFC said. “This grant from Aim and RALI will allow us to distribute key materials to hundreds of homes here in Beech Grove. Materials that include contact information for our coalition and for national crisis and substance abuse prevention hotlines. That way everyone knows there is always help available.”
RALI is partnering with Code 3 to bring the RALI CARES educational trailer to several communities, including Beech Grove. The RALI CARES exhibit is a hands-on tour of a teenage bedroom to help parents and caregivers learn about possible warning signs of substance misuse and abuse. Experts, including local law enforcement, will help guide adults through the trailer to educate them on warning signs and potential areas of concern and answer any questions participants may have.
For more information or to donate, please visit the Beech Grove CDFC at beechgrovecdfc.org or visit their Facebook page at Beech Grove Drug Free.