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Grant Funds Transportation, Drug Education For Monroe County Health Department

A bin of syringes.

Monroe County will use some of the $85,000 to purchase a minivan to help distribute naloxone, conduct outreach education programs, and pick up syringes that people improperly discarded. (Steve Burns/WTIU News)

The Monroe County Health Department and the Indiana Recovery Alliance will use funds from a new state grant to strengthen drug education outreach programs.

Health Department Lead Health Educator Kathy Hewett says the state redistributed federal grant funds to counties that have syringe exchange programs.

She says education is the most important part of avoiding epidemics like the 2015 HIV outbreak in Scott County.

“All it takes would be just a couple HIV cases in a population that doesn’t have that education and outreach, and we could easily have an epidemic," Hewett says.

Monroe County will use some of the $85,000 to purchase a minivan to help distribute naloxone, conduct outreach education programs and pick up syringes that people improperly discarded.

Hewett says the health department encourages people to call them if they find syringes in the community that haven’t been properly disposed.

About half of the grant money will go to the Indiana Recovery Alliance to help maintain and update its mobile outreach van.

Hewett says the money spent on transport for the health department and IRA will be critical to maintaining its outreach programs.

“I also hope that both vehicles will allow us to get further out into the county, so that we can service more people and get the program out there,” she says.

The IRA operates the Monroe County Syringe Services Program on behalf of the Monroe County Health Department.

Reporter Alex Eady contributed to this story.

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