Sheriff’s office gets $2.6M grant to expand addiction treatment in jail

  • The Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan in his office in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 9/17/2021 5:03:16 PM

GREENFIELD — Franklin County Sheriff Christopher Donelan announced Friday his office was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to fund for five years a project to assist inmates struggling with addiction.

The HEALing (Helping End Addiction Long-term) Franklin County project aims to offer more treatment for trauma, which can be an important underlying cause of addiction, and more support after inmates are released from the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction.

“Over half of the people in our jail have an addiction to opioids. This is a community problem and it needs a community solution,” Donelan said. “These funds will bring together a number of partners to give critically needed help to those suffering from profound addiction. We are following the science closely and need to offer treatments that are shown to work.”

According to a statement, several agencies will be funded by this grant, working together to improve the county’s response to the opioid epidemic. The Center for Human Development and the Community Health Center of Franklin County will provide staff for the project that will help individuals exiting jail navigate the health care system and support their transition back into the community.

“The Community Health Center is committed to providing high-quality health care to any member of our community, regardless of income, insurance status or circumstances,” said Dr. Allison van der Velden, CEO of the Community Health Center of Franklin County. “‘High quality’ means integrated, accessible and individualized care with a range of office-based addiction treatments as part of primary care. CHCFC is confronting the opioid epidemic with evidence-based practices and by supporting and empowering patients through their personal health journeys.”

Shannon Hicks, director of the Greenfield Behavioral Health Clinic for the Center for Human Development, said her organization serves many clients with complex needs, including addiction, trauma, housing and employment.

According to the statement, the Salasin Project will be contracted to provide peer-specialist support for women transitioning out of jail.

“At the Salasin Project, we support individuals and families that have experienced domestic violence,” Director Becky Lockwood said. “We recognize that the majority of women who are involved in the justice system have histories of sexual and domestic violence, which is connected to their substance misuse. As a result, women being released from jail are at risk for exploitation. As a community, we have the responsibility to create conditions in which these women feel supported and valued and can build their resilience.”

Elizabeth Evans, associate professor in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences, will be the principal investigator of the project’s evaluation component. Her recent research focuses on the opioid epidemic, particularly among populations involved with the criminal justice system.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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