Mercer professors receive $200,000 grant to attack opioid overdose
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Mercer University School of Medicine professors Dr. Bryant Smalley and Dr. Jacob Warren received a $200,000 grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to create a plan to prevent the opioid crisis in rural North Georgia.
The grant will begin the north Georgia Opioid Prevention and Education Network, an association focused on the prevention of opioid use disorder and opioid overdose in Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon and Polk counties.
Those counties have an opioid overdose mortality rate above the state average. Some are more than double the state average.
Dr. Warren says areas that need the most help were assessed and outlined in a plan to help the crisis. Afterward, the Health Resources and Services Administration sent an application for the grant money.
The grant money arrived in June and the funds will help create and implement community-driven plans to stop the opioid crisis.
Dr. Warren and Dr. Smalley will lead the opioid association.
It will take a year for the association to:
- Survey the area’s strengths and needs
- Start a community-engaged planning process
- Develop a plan to strengthen the opioid response workforce
- Start a community awareness campaign focused on opioid use and overdose
Warren wants to listen to the voices of the community and implement town hall meetings, open forums, and retreats for those most impacted by opioid overdoses.