Fentress County Commissioners approved funding Monday night to begin intensive outpatient treatment for drug addiction.
Opioid settlement money will be used to fund a one-year agreement with Jamestown’s Manna House Ministries. Director Billy Webb said the new program would be an alternative to inpatient drug treatment, something Fentress County does not have. Webb said patients would attend treatment three hours per day, three or four days per week.
“This proposal allows us to kind of get this off the ground and running there at Manna House and have everything in house,” Webb said. “We’ll have professional treatment center services coupled with the recovery support services that we already offer, that we’ve been offering for the past 18 years in Fentress County. So it is an expansion and allow us to increase in what we’re able to do. And so we’re really excited about looking forward to it.”
The Opioid Settlement Committee voted to provide some $108,000 of its funding to Manna House to launch the project. Webb said it could be the seed money and the ministry has a plan developed to sustain the program. The money will also help develop systems so that Manna House could accept insurance payments or Tenn Care.
“We have a plan here that we’re hoping to see to come to fruition, that we’ll be able to show that here in Fentress County,” Webb said. “We have a treatment center now that is doing great things, that is working, doing some good work, and we can get those contracts and help even more folks eventually. That’s just kind of the way it works.”
In addition, Manna House will also launch a prevention program focused on vaping in the schools. Webb said intervention today can prevent the development of a drug habit ten years from now.
“We’re all about prevention and harm reduction and looking into making for anything that we can do today to impact our future generations in a positive way,” Webb said. “And that’s to inform them, educate them, treat individuals already suffering. We know from the court system, we know from the school system, working in mental health, we know that there are a number of our youth that are facing the issues with vaping and things along those lines. And so we wanted to partner with the court system as best we could to offer a program there to increase education, increase support.”
Fentress County has received about $258,000 in opioid settlement money so far.
In other business, Fentress County Commissioners formally approved the new overtime plan for the Fentress County Sheriffs Department. The plan changed the existing structure from comp time. It also bumped deputies $1 on the pay line.
At least one commissioner expressed disappointment that no one from the Sheriffs Department attended the meeting Monday night to present the plan. County Executive Jimmy Johnson said the approval was more a formality since the budget committee had already approved the change. However, Johnson offered to table the item.
Commissioners passed the change unanimously.
County Commissioners approved a contract to place a registration kiosk in Clarkrange. The kiosk will be located at the IGA store. Commissioners also set April 19 as sale date for delinquent taxes.