TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is receiving nearly $3 million from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The funds will be used to identify and support children exposed to drugs, increase public safety, and help decrease death from overdoses in Kansas. Those goals are part of the KDHE’s “All Hands on DECK (drug-endangered children in Kansas) project.”

An estimated 140,860 children in Kansas live with a parent or caregiver with a substance use disorder (SUD), and an estimated 5,155 infants are born exposed to drugs every year. Those children are more likely to develop chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and more likely to develop a substance use disorder, have financial difficulties and have employment challenges.

“This important All Hands on DECK funding is an investment in Kansas children and a lifeline for family members with substance use disorder,” says KDHE State Health Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. “The funds will provide the support needed to implement DECK coalitions in six funded communities and will help to increase education and awareness of drug-endangered children in Kansas.”

The project will focus efforts on communities disproportionately affected by drug use and overdose deaths, not just in urban areas but in rural and frontier areas of the state, including Kansas tribal communities. For more details, visit preventoverdoseks.org.