Local clinic seeks grant to help fight opioid epidemic

116 people a day die from opioid-related drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There’s a push to bring more doctors to the Tri-States to specifically treat opioid addicts. 

At SIU Center for Family Medicine in Quincy, one doctor sees dozens of patients dealing with addiction to opioids, but with a bigger case load and more patients, the center is hoping to expand to help more people and save lives. 

It was just another day in the office for Dr. Mike Connolly and nurse McKenzie Sargent at SIU Family Medicine.

"They come in basically at rock bottom," case manager Sargent said. 

Connolly and Sargent help patients overcome opioid addiction. 

Stats from the State of Illinois show 10 deaths reported in Adams County in 2016, seven in 2017. 

"One death is alarming to me. One death is too many," Dr. Connolly said.  

Connolly treats people with Suboxone, a medication that helps with addiction to narcotic pain relievers. 

"There are people coming out of the wood work that are realizing that they do have a problem and I do need help with this," Sargent said. "It depends on the person on how long the treatment is going to take. " 

A national safety council survey showed that 99 percent of people felt that primary care doctors overprescribed opioids. The complete 2018 survey breaks down the entire epidemic.

But, Connolly said it’s a lot more than that. 

"There’s a lot of finger pointing that goes on for this opioid crisis," Connolly said.  I think we need to realize that it’s multi-factoral. The government had a hand in it, prescribers had a hand in it, the pharmaceutical companies had a big hand in how we ended up where we are at right now." 

Now the center applied for a HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Funding with the hope of bringing in up to $200,000 for one year to develop plans for prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions.

"We need to change the way on how we treat pain. Greater than 80 percent of opioids worldwide are distributed and used by Americans. We are not in 80 percent more pain than the rest of the world," Connolly said. 

For a look at the complete federal grant application with links to the website, CLICK HERE

75 grants will be handed out. 

The center can receive up to $200,000 for one year. 

This is part of a multi-year Rural Communities Opioid Response initiative. 

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