Bizzarro: Local service agencies awarded money in fight against addiction

Grants coming to Family Services of NW PA, LECOM

ERIE, Sept. 8­Nearly $1 million was awarded to Erie County agencies to help treat people facing substance abuse and mental health issues, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today.

“Too many of our neighbors continue to struggle with drug use and mental health problems, and the struggle to find help is a big problem,” Bizzarro said. “The cost to our communities is high, and I’m glad to see these tax dollars coming to Erie County and help people get their lives back on track.”

The money was awarded Wednesday during a meeting of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Among other initiatives approved in Erie County:

  • $299,733 to Family Services of NW PA for their ongoing Erie Opioid Misuse Prevention Project. The money will be used to continue evidence-based approaches to engage young people in substance use and other problem behaviors. Family Services of NW PA is in the third year of a five-year pilot program working with local schools, non-profits and more to address the circumstances that can lead kids into trouble and build protections that can help them avoid those risks.

  • $484,618 to five college/universities for the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Project, one of which is at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. State opioid response money is being used to fund a comprehensive and integrated approach to the getting early intervention and treatment services to people with substance-use disorder, mental health disorders, or those with an elevated risk of developing those disorders.

“The opioid crisis combined with the pandemic has only further strained these services as record number of people are isolated, face new challenges and emerge into our normal” Bizzarro said. “This money will help people who need it the most, and I will continue to push for more resources from Harrisburg to help here at home.”

More than $22.3 million was awarded to statewide organizations dedicated to breaking cycles of violence and substance abuse in their communities.

In addition to grants for local programs, the PCCD awarded $900,000 to the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance for its statewide efforts to provide drug and alcohol treatment professionals with free materials about opioid addiction to distribute in their communities; $640,000 to the Council of State Governments Justice Center for its Pennsylvania Stepping up Technical Assistance Center, which is part of a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in prisons; and $632,135 to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape for its Sexual Assault Services Program.