JOHNSON COUNTY — In 2019, nearly 1,700 Hoosiers died from drug overdoses.
While state data hasn’t been updated for the entire year of 2020, in just the first half of the year, there were more than 1,000 overdose deaths reported.
Recently the Office Of National Drug Policy announced $13.2 million in grants for 106 drug-free community support programs — two of them right here in the Hoosier state: Scott and Johnson counties.
In Scott County, the money is going towards their program CEASe of Scott County, whose mission is to prevent drug and alcohol addiction and abuse.
In Johnson County, the money is going to Empower Johnson County, a nonprofit focused on preventing drug use in Johnson County youth.
“Our mission is to prevent and reduce youth substance use through advocacy education and enforcement,” said Michelle McMahon, the coordinator for Empower Johnson County.
Empower Johnson County received funding from the ONDCP, which operates through the Centers for Disease Control.
This will be the second time they’ve received this funding.
“We are so excited, we were fortunate enough to get it once and now this is the, you know, we're just overwhelmed with the excitement of what are we going to do next and how can we impact this community,” McMahon said.
The group also says they're glad to be able to continue groups like their Empowered Youth Coalition.
“It is a county-wide coalition made up of high school students from all six public schools across Johnson County, which is very exciting because we know that youth can give us the best information on what's really going on in their lives," said Miranda Bloomfield with Empower Johnson County.
"As adults and parents, we think we have this insight to what exactly is going on, but they can tell us what they're seeing in their friends, here's what they're concerned about, what they think they're doing really well.”
Another perk of this vital funding is the ability to continue to help other organizations push the message of anti-drug and alcohol use.
Sonya Ware-Meguiar is the CEO of Girls Inc., whose goal is to empower girls to be healthy, educated, and independent. Ware-Meguiar said they receive resources from Empower Johnson County every year.
“We can only do so much alone, but when you have a coalition and empowerment behind you providing that messaging and providing those resources, just really enriching what Girls Inc. can provide, so it's truly a compliment to our programming, but it's also a way to enrich it and to offer that next level of having that support for our girls,” Ware-Meguiar said.
Empower Johnson County is glad they have funding for five more years of teaching today’s youth to make good decisions.
“We want to make sure that youth know that it's good to make positive decisions and that most of them are making positive decisions so we want there to be opportunities for that,” McMahon said.
Their biggest campaign of the year is coming up at the end of the month. Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31. It’s a week dedicated to inspiring kids to be drug-free.
They will be present at all six Johnson County Schools.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a substance use-related emergency, call 911.
For more information on a recovery organization near you, you can visit the Indiana Recovery Network website.
You can call 211 for help 24/7 in Indiana.
You can call the Indiana Addiction Hotline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357).
To find where you can get Naloxone near you, click here.
To learn more about NaloxBoxes, click here.
To view more resources from NextLevel Recovery Indiana, click here to visit its website.
Click here to learn more about substance use disorders.
Substance use disorder-related data from the state.