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Federal grants to improve rural mental health and opioid treatment

Flickr | Marco Verch

The medical services network receives two grants from the federal government to focus on the key issues of mental health and opioid addiction in rural Michigan.

The Michigan Rural Emergency Medical Services Network will be expanding resources for rural communities after receiving two federal grants. The grants, from the Health Resource Services Administration, place an emphasis on two key areas.

The first is to increase effectiveness in EMS response to patients with behavioral health needs. The second is to research, train, and provide resources for communities suffering from the opioid epidemic.

Stacy Sawyer is the Communications Director for the Michigan Rural EMS Network. She said one of the goals of the new projects is to provide community resources for people dealing with opioid addiction.

“We are going to look into opioid addiction in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and see where EMS and the first responders can fill in some gaps,” she said, “Where patients can use the community resources they might not know about and will hopefully take advantage of and overcome the addiction.”

Sawyer said the organization is exploring many routes to address the opioid crisis.

“The goal is really going to be trifold,” she said, “It is going to be recovery, treatment, and prevention. So, we are really going to be working on all avenues to fight the opioid epidemic.”

Sawyer said the grants will also help the organization open two new field offices in Frederic Township, in Crawford county and in Alpena.