Local agency receives federal grants


Union County has received a pair of federal grants to help people with mental illness.
Dr. Phil Atkins recently announced the Mental Health and Recovery Board has received a $125,000 grant as part of the Drug-Free Communities Act as well as an additional grant from the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman said he “welcomed the announcement.”
“The Drug-Free Communities program is a proven, evidence-based, community-oriented and accountable program that reduces substance abuse among our nation’s youth,” Portman wrote in a statement detailing the grant. Sadly, amidst the worst drug crisis our nation has ever seen, it is needed now more than ever.”
The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County was one of 27 organizations statewide to receive the grants.
“These 27 grants will help those on the frontlines in Ohio combat this crisis as we work together to turn the tide of addiction,” Portman wrote. “I’m pleased that my Drug-Free Communities legislation is working to address the comprehensive challenge of combating addiction.”
In 1997, Portman co-authored the Drug-Free Communities Act, which he said supports evidence-based, community-oriented drug prevention program.
“The program is designed to be optimally effective and accountable by capping the amount spent on administrative and overhead expenses, requiring all coalitions that receive grants to have experience in drug abuse prevention, as well as matching federal funding with dollar-for-dollar local funds,” according to information about the grant.
Portman said the program is, “working well at a time when America desperately needs more drug abuse prevention and education.”
Atkins said the Department of Justice grant will be used to work with the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg.”
He said it will, “allow us deal more effectively with people with mental illness going into the jail.”
Adkins said he wrote the grant on behalf of Union as well as Madison and Champaign counties. The three counties share use of the Tri-County Regional Jail.
Officials at the jail have said they have seen a rapid increase in the number of drug addicted and mentally ill inmates coming into the jail.
Adkins said “a big hunk of the money” will be used for data.
Adkins said he has focused grant applications on “how we share data more effectively on the kids side and now on the criminal justice side.”

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