In an attempt to curb the national opioid epidemic, two Rock Hill-based clinics have received federal grants of over $100,000 each.
The Affinity Health Center, with sites in Rock Hill, Clover and Fort Mill, received $175,700 in a Health Resources and Services Administration grant announced Thursday. The Community Medicine Foundation, located in Rock Hill and Chester, received $145,840.
The grant aims to increase the community’s access to substance abuse and mental health services, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded $3,594,841 to 21 health centers in South Carolina – and more than $200 million nationwide.
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“No corner of our country, from rural areas to urban centers, has escaped the scourge of the opioid crisis,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. “The Trump Administration is taking strong, decisive action to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic. These grants from HRSA go directly to local organizations, which are best situated to address substance abuse and mental health issues in their own communities.”
Anita Case, executive director of Affinity Health Center, said the organization will use the grant to expand access to psychiatric services and help the community understand the opioid epidemic.
“There’s such a tremendous demand for psychiatric services that expanding access in this community is a great opportunity,” Case said.
Affinity Health Center and Community Medicine Foundation are both primary care clinics, and partner with Catawba Community Mental Health Center and Keystone Substance Abuse Services to address patients’ substance abuse and mental health needs.
Ernest Brown, CEO of Community Medicine Foundation, said the grant will help the clinic provide patients with the most comprehensive care possible.
Brown said patients sometimes skip referral appointments, especially if they have to go to another location at another time.
“If we could provide some of those services in-house it could be more appropriate,” he said. “Because it could be more of a one-stop shop for the patients.”
And substance abuse resources are becoming increasingly important in York County.
Forty-eight drug overdose deaths were reported in York County in 2016, compared to 28 in 2011, according to the York County Coroner’s Office’s annual report.
Forty of the overdose deaths in 2016 were directly related to opiates, compared to 20 in 2011, the report says.
“In our community, there’s been an uptick in opiod usage, overdose, death and first responders having to administer the medication for an overdose,” Case said. “So I think just across the country and in our community there’s just a tremendous need for more resources for behavioural health services.
“And I think that’s why HRSA’s made this a priority.”
Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068