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Expansion of SUD Recovery Connections in Wyandotte County Specialty Courts

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,300,000)

Wyandotte County has seen a steep increase in opioid overdose and
overdose deaths since 2018. To address this the Wyandotte County Health Department (WCHD)
has started a Peer Support Navigation Program to assist with linkage to care. Hiring peers is an
evidence-based practice that increases a person with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) likelihood
of seeking recovery-based services due to the shared understanding, respect, and mutual
empowerment regarding the challenges of changing SUD behaviors. Wyandotte County also
suffered a great loss in the fall of 2022 when the only inpatient treatment center in the county,
Mirror Inc., shut its doors permanently. This closure eliminated the potential for nearby
residential treatment, which directly affects not only general community members who are
interested and open for recovery access, but those experiencing potential incarceration due to
drug use as well. Now that there is no inpatient option, local drug court participants do not have
an immediate treatment follow up for their programming, nor a Mirror employee that had
worked with drug court to provide assessments to establish this treatment connection. This has
resulted in drug court participants sitting in jail for up to 2 months awaiting an assessment for
follow-up care. The closing of Mirror Inc. established a new partnership between WCHD and the
local drug court. This partnership has developed a greater collaboration in the corrections setting.
First, to utilize this funding to hire a Masters Licensed Addiction Counselor (LMAC) through
Wyandot Behavioral Health Network (WBHN) to provide assessments that can decrease the time
it takes for drug court participants and general probation offenders to access recovery services.
WBHN is a family of organizations serving the mental health needs of Wyandotte County,
Kansas and beyond. Along with mental health services, they offer outpatient SUD treatment
services, and they are starting a Medication Assisted Treatment program. WBHN hiring the
LMAC, would allow them to complete assessments needed and allow them to create a services
chart should they want to receive services from the organization. The LMAC could also provide
some treatment such as substance use treatment and mental health therapy, if further
collaboration is to take place. Creating this position and embedding it in the court and
community corrections facilities will aid in care navigation as well as provide a consistent person
thus providing a more coordinated approach for the for the individual.

Date Created: September 25, 2023