The Hood County Substance Abuse Council (HCSAC) was one of four organizations in Texas that recently received a $50,000 grant from CARA (Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act) to conduct education and prevention services regarding opioids in the local community.

“Our DFC (Drug-Free Communities) grant covered nicotine, alcohol and prescription and non-prescription medications,” said Teresa Turner, director of HCSAC. “This grant is specific to opioids, so it makes it possible for us to continue and expand the work that we were doing.”

With the grant, HCSAC will continue the Teen Court program specified for teens ages 10 to 17 who receive Class C citations in Granbury; will continue to teach life skills classes at Tolar ISD; and the youth coalition TMAD (Teens Making A Difference) will continue to educate students about opioid use.

“Some of our TMAD will go into community centers and teach younger kids, and one of the things that they practice is telling a mentor that they've been approached, but also how to say, ‘No,’” Turner said. “It's really great because they have that opportunity to kind of practice that and that's our goal — to equip them to be able to say, ‘No’ to those things.”

HCSAC conducts community assessment reports and an entrance and exit assessment with the life skills programs to gauge what students are learning. HCSAC will host webinars and a new program called Lunch and Learn to educate different businesses about the dangers of narcotics and to help them develop drug-free policies in the workplace.

“Even though the grant’s focus is prevention and education between the ages of 12 and 18, we also spend a lot of time educating parents and even grandparents because this is information that they all need to know about how dangerous (opioids) can be to our young people,” Turner said.

In 2019, the nation experienced a decline in opioid use, but COVID-19 caused a 30% spike in national opioid deaths from January 2020 to February 2021.

“I think 115 people a day died from an opioid overdose, so that's not even taking into account how many don't lose their lives, thank goodness, but Narcan really helps make that number smaller,” Turner said.

Narcan is a prescription medicine and nasal spray used to treat a suspected opioid overdose. With this grant, HCSAC will also provide Narcan training in Hood County.

“We're really proud to have this grant,” Turner added. “The United Way did such a good job setting up this program, and we're really grateful to have the opportunity to continue the work that they started in the community.” | 817-573-1243