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Collaboration Houston: Addressing Substance Misuse (CHASM)

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,600,000)

The Houston Health Department (HHD) is applying for a Category 1a for an
urban area or large county, in the amount of $1,600,000 for 3 years serving the city of Houston
with a 2.3 million population. This application includes partnership with Houston Police
Department (HPD) and The Center for Recovery and Wellness Resources (CRWR). This
proposal, Collaboration Houston: Addressing Substance Use and Misuse (CHASM), expands
upon COSSAP funded surveillance and alert system to inform outreach, education and
mobilization. CHASM will implement a locally driven, comprehensive response to address
substance use and misuse by: (1) Providing targeted substance use awareness activities in
partnership with law enforcement for with K-12 students and curriculum-based education with
justice involved individuals, parents/caregivers and older adults. (2) Integrating data from the
current opioid surveillance system to improve community awareness, program messaging, and
mobilization of stakeholder response. (3) Delivering evidence-based substance use treatment and
recovery support services. Houston/Harris County continues to experience a rise in opioid
misuse and overdose. In 2020, Harris County was the highest Texas county for the number of
accidental poisoning deaths involving opioids. This area continues to experience increased rates
of illicit drug use from 6.6 per 100,000 in 2010 to 9.1 in 2020. During this same period, death
rates from substance use increased from 9.2 to 17.7, greater than Texas’ rate. Most drugs being
used in Houston, including heroin and opioids, are now being cut with fentanyl further
complicating this epidemic in Houston. Deaths involving fentanyl skyrocketed by 341% from
2019-2021. Houston is known as one of the most racially/ethnically diverse large metropolitan
areas in the country, with over 145 languages spoken. However, Houston has an
overrepresentation of underserved communities of color. In these neighborhoods, populations
are of greater risk and require specific interventions, including youth and justice involved
individuals. CHASM partners with law enforcement and recovery experts providing specific
strategies for these communities and populations that are more likely to be impacted by opioid
overdose, stimulants and other substance use. Awareness activities, curriculum-based education
and substance use treatment will be augmented with real-time surveillance data. Public access to
web-based data will include a warning system to gauge opioid overdoses, deaths and substance
use trends in Houston. CHASM promotes public safety and supports access to recovery services.
CHASM responds to contextual changes in the opioid epidemic through multi-sector
collaboration and strategic, evidence-based interventions for individuals, groups and
communities with higher vulnerability.

Date Created: September 25, 2023