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Grant money to go toward reducing overdose deaths in Greene, Christian and Webster Counties

Springfield-Greene County Health Department
Michele Skalicky
Springfield-Greene County Health Department

The $111,650 grant was awarded to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

A grant awarded to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is aimed at helping to reduce overdose deaths.

The $111,650 Reducing Overdose through Community Approaches Mentorship or ROCA grant comes from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Public health officials say it will support prevention strategies and activities to address the high rate of substance use and overdose deaths in Greene County.

The 2022 Community Needs Assessment found that more than four percent of Greene, Christian and Webster County residents has a substance abuse disorder. That compares to 3.3 percent for the U.S. and 3.5 percent for Missouri. Overdose deaths are higher, too, with 27 deaths per 100,000 residents in the Springfield Community.

According to city officials, the grant will help the health department study and better understand how the drug crisis impacts the community and steps that can be taken to address it. The funds will also be used to help create the Overdose Fatalities Review Board, which will allow public health, healthcare, public safety and other agencies to gather data and understand the underlying causes of drug use in order to prevent it.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.