Grays Harbor Public Health is one of 21 sites across the U.S. to receive $750,000 over two years from the Rural Response to the Opioid Epidemic grant.
The grant’s purpose is to reduce the disease and death associated with opioid overdoses in rural communities by bringing together experts from public safety, therapeutic justice, behavioral health, and public health. Funding for this grant comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the State Justice Institute.
Figures show that over the past decade, Grays Harbor County’s rate of death from opioid overdose has been among the highest in Washington State.
The project’s leadership team includes Aberdeen resident Jeff Simmons, Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge Stephen Brown, Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard, Grays Harbor County Coroner Bob Kegel, Grays Harbor Undersheriff Brad Johansson, and Grays Harbor Public Health Deputy Director Beth Mizushima. Community Health Specialist Wilma Weber from Grays Harbor Public Health will provide staff support for the project.
Grays Harbor County Public Hospital District No. 1 in Elma received $1 million through a related grant in 2019.
Over $157 million has been given to rural communities through federal funding sources since 2018.