FARMINGTON — Healthy Community Coalition has announced a new funding award from the Health Resources and Services Administration called the Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning grant. The grant will provide HCC and its community partners with $200,000 for one year to examine the opioid crisis in Franklin County and surrounding towns and develop a strategic action plan to address it through prevention, treatment expansion and workforce development, according to a news release from Franklin Community Health Network.

Maine is among the top 10 states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths with 418 drug-induced deaths in Maine in 2017, representing an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Locally, Franklin County has been identified by the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having a more at-risk population for opioid misuse, according to the release. Through funding from the grant, the coalition will work closely with several community organizations including Evergreen Behavioral Services, Farmington Police Department, Franklin Community Health Network, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Maine Primary Care Association, Spruce Mountain Adult Education, Western Maine Area Health Education Center and Wilson Stream Family Practice.

“The RCOP grant funding will allow HCC to build upon its existing substance use prevention efforts and create a community-wide response to the opioid epidemic in Franklin County,” said Jennifer McCormack, HCC executive director, according to the release.

Grant activities will include expanding current prevention and treatment programs, establishing rapid access to medication assisted therapies, substance use treatment career explorations and community events to reduce substance use and treatment stigma.

Founded in 1989, Healthy Community Coalition is an affiliate of the Franklin Community Health Network working to improve the health and well-being of our families, neighbors, and the communities where we live and work.

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