Seven projects in Iowa are sharing just over $660,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to tackle the opioid crisis.

The Wayne County Hospital in Corydon is using a $150,000 grant to buy an ambulance equipped with features specifically for opioid treatment. Darien Relph is the hospital’s CEO.  “Our oldest model that we have is a 2006 model, and as we look at the reliability pieces of having an ambulance respond to the opioid crisis or any other ambulance emergency, it’s really important that we have up-to-date equipment,” Relph says.

In the past year, Relph says they’ve responded to 770 ambulance calls and 22 were solely for drug-related emergencies. Relph says in overdose emergencies, reversal drugs like naloxone  need to be managed with care and by skilled hands.

“We need to able to get those drugs to a scene and administer them efficiently and that will definitely be helped by having a grant for an ambulance,” Relph says.

The other projects receiving federal funds are located in Cass, Lucas, Monroe, Harrison, Buena Vista, and Harrison counties. Overall, the U.S.D.A. is investing a little more than $10 million in 85 projects in 22 states to support opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery.
(Thanks to Julie Englander, Iowa Public Radio)