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Affinia Healthcare receives $11k grant to distribute, increase awareness of Narcan 

         Affinia Healthcare has received an $11,500 grant from the City of St. Louis Department of Health (DOH) for the distribution of Narcan, a medication used for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. The grant also covers the communication and education efforts of spreading the word about this medication. The grant will run through August 2024, with an opportunity for up to an additional one-year renewal. 

     This follow-up grant comes after Affinia Healthcare received a grant from the St. Louis City DOH for $122,500 in July 2023 to help increase awareness of opioid prevention and treatment through the nonprofit’s pharmacies and outreach initiatives. While the goal is to continue increasing awareness of treatment for the substance use disorder, this year the primary focus will be on ways to decrease accidental overdose deaths of children and youth. For Affinia Healthcare, this means providing educational resources to youth and parents at outreach initiatives and through different media platforms. 

     “Unfortunately, as the war against the opioid crisis continues, we’re seeing a significant increase of accidental overdoses with our youth,” said Dr. Kendra Holmes, Affinia Healthcare President & CEO. “The opioid epidemic is a crisis in our community and in many ways, it has blindsided parents because they are not aware of how the drug may be presented. The more educated parents and children are about the opioid crises and what to do if children are exposed, the better prepared we can be to help save lives.” 

     According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, there was a 20 percent increase of drug overdose deaths among teens aged 14-18, between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 77 percent of teen drug overdose deaths were due to fentanyl with many being fake or counterfeit pills made to look like prescription opioids and were laced with illicitly manufactured fentanyl.  

     In addition to providing education to the community, the grant will go toward the distribution of Narcan. Each month approximately 30 families will receive Narcan for harm reduction as needed. Narcan will also be distributed at Affinia Healthcare pharmacies & outreach events, by pediatric staff, and through established community partnerships.  

     Affinia Healthcare provides substance misuse treatment through its Medication Assisted Treatment program. As part of a comprehensive care program, patients work with medical and behavioral health professionals to treat the addiction. To contact a member of the Affinia Healthcare MAT team, please call 314-658-4860.