Health Department donates money to prevent overdoses


Photo Credit: (MGN Online)

Michael Delehanty, Contributor

PITTSBURGH — The Allegheny County Health Department has donated a total of $47,500 in five mini-grants of $9,500 to community organizations in an effort to prevent deadly opioid overdoses in communities that have been heavily impacted by overdoses.

The organizations that received the mini-grants were Bridge to the Mountains, Prevention Point Pittsburgh, Gamma Lambda Sigma Alumni Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Ross/West View Emergency Medical Services and Families Turning. The funding of these mini-grants came from a grant from the Hillman Foundation that was awarded to the Health Department back in May of this year.

“In an effort to address the opioid overdose epidemic, we are excited to provide funding for organizations that are working to address this issue,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department. “Their efforts in disproportionately impacted communities will help target at-risk populations, employ evidence-based practices, and develop partnerships with multiple organizations. We look forward to collaborating with these organizations as they help extend efforts to address the complex issues of opioid overdose, use, and addiction.”

Each of the organizations that received the mini-grant has a different and impactful way to help with the opioid epidemic. Each of their ideas and strategies include education, outreach, connection to clinical services and harm reduction strategies.

Bridge to the Mountains is an organization that provides services to those living on the streets. They provide daily street outreach and develop relationships with those who have nowhere else to live. Bridge to the Mountains helps these citizens to get the basic things they need to live a healthy life. When it is finally possible, they help those people they have developed relationships with to transition from living on the streets to living in a steady home.

Prevention Point Pittsburgh is a community-based overdose prevention training provider. They have been the largest provider of this since 2005. They are also the largest providers of naloxone distribution services in the region. Prevention Point Pittsburgh can be located in East Liberty, Perry Hilltop and the Hill District.

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., is an international organization that is big on promoting brotherhood, scholarship and service. Their alumni affiliate, Gamma Lambda Sigma (GLS) will be using their mini-grant to conduct Narcan training sessions, build pop-up opioid overdose prevention outreach tents and give presentations on opioid overdoses and their effects. They will be targeting areas such as McKeesport, Penn Hills, Wilkensburg and Braddock.

Ross/West View Emergency Medical Services plan to use their money to educate the communities they serve. They plan to had out brochures and pamphlets with information and resources for those who are addicted and their families. They also plan to hold CPR training sessions. Finally, they will hold community events, informing those at-risk people, their families and other loved ones.

Finally, Families Turning is more for the families who are dealing with an addictive loved one. This organization will hold public workshops for those dealing with someone with an addiction. They will also train Certified Recovery Specialists to hold weekly support meetings for recoverees and their families.

These are all great examples of how we are all coming together as a community to end this terrible and tragic epidemic.