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TDMHSAS Announces New Funding to Continue Successful Drug Overdose Intervention Program in Sullivan County

Federal grant supports local partnership to break cycle of overdose
Monday, November 09, 2020 | 07:47am

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. – New federal funding coming to Tennessee will continue a successful program in Sullivan County aimed at ending the cycle of drug overdose.  The Sullivan County Overdose Response Team (SCORT) is receiving almost $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to continue its work for the next three years.

SCORT is a collaboration between the Sullivan County Anti-Drug (SCAD) Coalition, area law enforcement agencies, and community behavioral health providers.  The program is designed to connect with people after an overdose, prevent future overdoses, and get them into treatment.  SCORT began as a pilot project in October 2018, and since then, more than 93% of the people in the program have avoided another overdose, and 77% have enrolled in some form of substance use treatment.

“The success of this program and the life-saving connection to treatment and recovery it provides for the people it serves are a testament to the hard work of the partners in Sullivan County.  We’re grateful to our federal partners for funding this work, and we’re thankful for the community partners who are changing lives every day,” said Marie Williams, LCSW, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

With the new funding, SCORT will broaden outreach and self-referral capacity to expand engagement with people who need assistance with substance use recovery and overdose prevention. The staffing provided through the grant and the strength of existing working relationships will enable the team to expand to a two-year follow-up window with clients to provide a more solid foundation for lasting and sustainable recovery.

“While we have learned a lot over the last two years, we have also had a big impact on Sullivan County.  Our community is stronger when we come together to meet the needs of our neighbors, help them regain their lives, and empower them to reclaim their dignity,” said Alice McCaffrey, Director, Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition.

"It has been extremely beneficial and has had a huge impact in our county working with the Sullivan County Overdose Response Team. With the collaboration of Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition and law enforcement, we have been able to connect individuals that have overdosed with treatment and resources of rehabilitation to prevent future overdoses," said Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy.  “As we continue to expand our resources, I believe we can break the cycle of addiction and set these individuals up for success in their lives. We are thankful for our community partners and look forward to our continued partnership."

The project includes partnerships between the case management team and law enforcement (Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office including jail staff, Bristol Police Department, Kingsport Police Department, the Drug Task Force), treatment partners (Frontier Health, Kingsport Family Recovery, Comprehensive Community Services, Volunteer Behavioral Health), community support (Recovery Resources) and many others.