WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita organization is one of 12 health departments, community coalitions, and non-profit organizations that implement locally-driven overdose prevention initiatives to receive part of a $3.1 million grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Safe Streets Wichita focuses on preventing prescription, drug, and alcohol abuse through community collaboration to enhance the Wichita community’s health, wealth, and safety. The organization received $23,000.00 from the KDHE Bureau of Health Promotion to address opioid and drug use, misuse, and overdose in the Wichita and Sedgwick County community. 

“Approaching the opioid and drug crisis from both the state level and local level through this collaboration will generate better reach and outcomes for Kansans,” said Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary.

According to KDHE, there were more than 393 drug-poisoning deaths across Kansas in 2019. Approximately 177 of those deaths involved a prescription or an illicit opioid, and 153 involved psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine. Sedgwick County recorded 93.8 opioid-related ER visits per 100,000 Sedgwick County residents the same year.

Jan Chandler, Community Mobilizer at Safe Streets Wichita, said the group is eager to use the funding to increase awareness of prescription drug misuse and overdose and collaborative efforts with other area organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Coalition. 

“We are excited to begin work on this project,” said Jan Chandler, Community Mobilizer at Safe Streets Wichita. “By working together with the state and other partners, we hope to impact opioid use and abuse at the community and state levels.”

This funding is part of the Overdose Data to Action OD2A Cooperative Agreement KDHE was recently awarded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. KDHE is funding 12 organizations to implement locally-driven overdose prevention initiatives and technical enhancements to Kansas’ prescription drug monitoring program, K-TRACS, to promote universal use among prescribers, pharmacists, and their delegates, among other strategies.

Other grant awardees include:

Safe Streets Wichita says they will also educate the Wichita City Council, Sedgwick County Commission and local school boards on opioid use disorder prevalence. The non-profit plans to reach a net of 168,000 Sedgwick County residents with awareness messages regarding the risk associated with misusing and abusing prescription or illicit opioids. 

Safe Streets Wichita will have completed a comprehensive policy analysis with over 100 community members, stakeholders, and partners by August 31, 2021, as part of this funding.

For additional information on Kansas’ efforts to prevent overdose and more details on the OD2A strategy, please visit www.preventoverdoseks.org.