The Tule River Indian Health Center Inc. in Porterville is getting a $200,000 grant to recruit and train EMS workers in an effort to improve mental health and prevent drug overdoses.
Federal officials announced the grant Wednesday, which is International Overdose Awareness Day. In all, the Biden administration awarded $79.1 million to address the opioid epidemic on Wednesday.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, an increase of more than 15% from 2020.
“Everyone in this country deserves access to effective overdose prevention, treatment, and recovery programs,” said Health and Human Services assistant secretary Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon in a news release. “(We are) committed to advancing innovative and comprehensive approaches that prevent overdose, expand quality treatment and sustain recovery.”
Goals for the Grant
Under the terms of the grant, the Tule River Indian Health Center will “recruit and train emergency medical services personnel in rural areas of Tulare County … with a particular focus on addressing mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorders.”
In addition, the grant calls for the purchase of Naloxone and the training of EMS personnel in the use of emergency opioid overdose medication. The Naloxone will be distributed to the Tule EMS team housed at the Tule River Indian Health Center, the Tule River EMS team housed at the casino, and to the Camp Nelson Volunteer Ambulance team.
How to Get Help for Substance Abuse
Anyone looking for substance treatment and other services should visit findtreatment.gov or call SAMHSA’s national helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357).