Monday, April 6, 2020
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UCHRA Awarded $635K Substance Abuse Grant

The Upper Cumberland Human Resources Agency (UCHRA) has received a $635,000 grant for combating substance abuse.

Glen Sayes is the UCHRA Regional Substance Abuse Coordinator. He said the funding will help unite agencies and programs already addressing drug addiction.

“We’ve already identified 172 organizations, individuals, and churches that are doing something to help with recovery in the Upper Cumberland,” Sayes said. “We’re going to give the capability of centralizing all of that into a central system, so that everyone will know who needs help, what the next step of that person’s plan is, and how we can get them in that.”

Sayes said the UCHRA will set up a hub that will be the central point for all data communication of a person seeking help.

“We will find treatment for them. We will work with them and assign a peer coach for them when they come out of treatment,” Sayes said. “Then we are going to be responsible for continuing that care through housing, transportation, jobs, and education. It’s full-scope. We’ve got to deal with the person as a whole individual to get them through this two years of recovery.”

UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley announced the grant award during a special-called meeting Wednesday. He said the communication plan will help service providers, drug coalitions, and judicial systems move in the right direction.

“Our whole goal is to eliminate those points along a person’s recovery where they can fall back into that lifestyle,” Farley said. “We want to make sure that we have a system in our region where that’s able to happen.”

Part of the plan involves creating an executive committee to help spearhead the project. Sayes, Farley, Judge Gary McKenzie, Bill Gibson with the Power of Putnam, and Kim Sowell of Volunteer Behavioral Health will serve on that committee.

“I’m excited about the executive committee we have put together on this,” Sayes said. “Talk about a powerful group that’s going to have some influence on getting things organized and put together.”

Sayes said the committee will meet on a monthly basis beginning in the next few weeks.