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Grants target recovery efforts in minorities

$350,000 award directs help toward minorities

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board received two grants expected to help treat and reduce substance use disorders in the county.

In one of the first of its kind she can remember, Brenda Heidinger, associate director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said a $350,000 grant the agency obtained is directed at specific minority groups.

Ohio received a pot of grant money from the federal government to combat the opioid crisis. The Ohio State Opiate Response Continuum Grant was awarded to the board to specifically help Hispanic and black people with substance use disorders.

The money can be used to create multilingual and culturally appropriate treatment literature, to pay for treatments, recovery housing, cultural training and translation services.

“We’ve never applied for a grant that specifically targeted a racial or ethnic group,” Heidinger said. “But, having the cultural competency training for providers to make sure they can understand the cultural and ethnic needs of their patients and overcome the language barriers will help people on the road to recovery.”

Though more white people die from accidental drug overdoses than black or Hispanic people, there is still a need to treat drug and alcohol use disorders in the populations, Heidinger said.

The county also received $70,000 for two of its specialty docket courts.

Judge Anthony D’Apolito’s veterans court run out of the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court received $30,000, and Judge John Durkin’s drug court in the Common Pleas Court received $40,000, through the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services agency.

The amount awarded was based on how many people use the specialized courts, which offer special proceedings to certain types of people accused of certain crimes in an effort to provide the defendant treatment and intervention, rather than conviction.

The funds can be used with little restrictions at the judges’ discretion.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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