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News / Health / Clark County Health

Clark County Jail gets $270K from opioid suit to fund addiction treatment for inmates

Nine local organizations awarded almost $1M from Clark County Opioid Abatement Council

By Alexis Weisend, Columbian staff reporter
Published: May 31, 2024, 6:09am

The Clark County Opioid Abatement Council awarded almost $1 million in grants Wednesday to nine organizations that provide drug prevention, treatment programs and recovery services in 2024.

The largest grant went to Clark County Jail Services in the amount of $270,612. The money will increase the number of inmates eligible to start prescriptions to treat opioid addiction and have access to peer recovery support while incarcerated.

The Clark County Opioid Abatement Council, which the county established to make grant decisions, awarded money to nine organizations and agencies for a total of $956,889 for 2024.

The funds come from a federal lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that sell opioids. Clark County joined the suit in 2018 along with more than 400 jurisdictions nationwide to hold companies accountable for the harm opioid addiction has caused to their communities.

The county’s overdose deaths rose from 58 to 117 per year between 2016 and 2021.

An estimated three in four Clark County Jail inmates have opioid use disorder, said Anna Lookingbill, jail transition manager.

“It’s important, and it’s absolutely public-safety aligned for us to try to help people stay alive and then have opportunities to seek care and to seek treatment,” Lookingbill said to The Columbian last month.

Other organizations also received grants:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington received $86,475 to strengthen opioid abuse prevention strategies.
  • Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue received $118,423 to employ a full-time community health worker.
  • Couve Collective received $83,378 to increase existing space and invest in outreach.
  • Columbia River Mental Health Services received $51,493 for staffing for medication assisted treatment.
  • Educational Service District 112 received $97,634 to prevent opioid abuse in youth.
  • Lifeline Connections received $113,320 for jail transition services and peer counseling.
  • Recovery Café Clark County received $81,576 to provide a satellite office near Vancouver Housing Authority projects that focus on homeless people.
  • Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health received $53,975 for a naloxone vending machine network and youth prevention training.

Each March, organizations can apply for grants. Clark County will receive $9.7 million over 17 years from the opioid lawsuit.

“It sounds like a lot of money, but it really … pales in comparison to the pain and suffering that our community at large felt because of this,” Clark County Councilor Sue Marshall said.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.