From The Republic:

ASAP, other agencies, working to establish recovery homes for substance abuse treatment

Mike Wolanin | The Republic An exterior view of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress Bartholomew County Hub in Columbus, Ind., Monday, June 15, 2020.

Plans are moving forward to use opioid settlement money to establish more substance abuse recovery houses in Bartholomew County.

In June, three matching grants from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction were announced to create local recovery houses with different levels of care. The three grants that total $718,280 come from settlements with a pharmaceutical company and multiple drug distributors over their roles in the opioid addiction crisis.

However, the state agency did not fund a proposed grant from Centerstone Behavioral Health to create a Level 2 substance abuse recovery facility, according to Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress Executive Director Sherri Jewett. Level 2 treatment involves intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization services for patients with complex substance abuse recovery needs.

In response, the Bartholomew County Council agreed Tuesday to use a portion of the county’s own opioid settlement money to finance the operations and opening of three additional Level 2 recovery homes.

Local grants awarded by the state last June include $324,000 to the Bridge to Dove program for a 15-bed, Level 4 recovery house for women; $262,000 to Centerstone for a Level 3 transitional housing facility; and $132,280 to Volunteers of America to expand an existing Level 2 women’s recovery house into a Level 3 facility.

Another obstacle arose when Centerstone was unable to find an appropriate building for its Level 3 residence, Jewett said. These facilities are for patients whose addictions have created significant functional impairments, or require more stability than they can achieve at home.

In response, the council agreed to provide $50,000 of opioid settlement funds to Thrive Alliance for use as a down payment to lease a house for Level 3 treatment.

Bartholomew County government is expected to receive at least $3 million in settlement funds through 2038, while a total of $194,011 will be provided to the city of Columbus. However, Jewett told the council five other settlements are currently in the works that will eventually result in additional money for local units of government.

A separate matter addressed by the council Tuesday involves last September’s announcement that ASAP had agreed to administer a substance use disorder treatment program at the Bartholomew County Jail. At that time, Jewett asked that the program be placed on hold a short time while her organization sought out qualified organizations to carry out the actual treatment.

On Tuesday, Jewett announced three local community organizations have expressed interest in providing treatment to jail inmates. However, she did not identify the three during the meeting.

The council agreed to move $215,521 budgeted in October from the sheriff’s department to ASAP. The allocation will provide secured funding as ASAP works through the process of choosing one of the three as the treatment provider, Jewett told the council. Some funds will also be used to provide advance funding opportunities after the choice has been made, she said.