Shaye McGee Walker has accepted an Outreach and Training Specialist position with Bluegrass.org. She will be providing education and resources to organizations working to slow the opiate and heroine epidemic in Clark, Estill, Madison and Powell Counties.
Over the last several years Kentucky has been at the epicenter of the opiate epidemic. This is evidenced by the increase in overdose hospitalizations, overdose death rates, and, related to the increase in intravenous drug use, an increase in the number of cases of infectious diseases. Bluegrass.org received a grant to address the prescription opiate and heroin epidemic within rural counties. The target areas include: Clark, Estill, Madison, and Powell Counties where there are additional underlying difficulties such as transportation issues, too few medical providers, and an overall lack of resources.
Through this grant, the SORT (Service Outreach Resource Training) team has been designed to address the needs of individuals who have an opioid use disorder as well as provide outreach and education to the targeted communities. The two primary positions of the SORT team that will be working directly with community members include an Outreach and Training Specialist and a Care Coordinator.
Shaye Walker recently accepted the Outreach and Training Specialist position and will be providing education, resources, and trainings primarily to local hospitals, health departments, primary care providers, and jails. These services will be provided at no cost and will focus on topics including the implementation of SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment), addiction, risk factors of IV drug use, and overdose education and prevention. The goal of these services is to increase understanding of addiction and related concerns as well as to combat stigma. Ms. Walker shared she will also be working in tandem with Prevention Specialist Mikka McGee to help assess community needs, identify strategies to address alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, as well as enhance prevention services that Bluegrass.org provides.
The Care Coordinator will provide engagement and coordination of care for no cost to individuals who are incarcerated or receiving services from the health department, hospitals, or individual physicians. Individuals who may qualify for services include those who have problems with opiate use and coexisting endocarditis, HIV, and/or hepatitis C. Individuals may also be eligible if they have experienced an overdose in the last 3 months; or due to their high-risk behaviors, are at risk for any of these conditions. The goal of these services is to improve access to appropriate treatment and resources and to meet clients wherever they are on their path to recovery. Bluegrass is currently recruiting to fill this position.
Michele McCarthy, Director of Substance Abuse and Prevention Services, shared that Bluegrass.org’s philosophy of care emphasizes the importance of providing person-centered services that assist individuals in achieving an improved quality of life and chance at recovery. Bluegrass.org also believes education and support for loved ones and communities are key components in sustaining positive change. Bluegrass.org has provided mental health, substance use, and intellectual and development disabilities services to children, families, and adults throughout our 17-county region for 50 years. If you have questions about Bluegrass.org services, would like to schedule an appointment, or need someone to talk to, you can reach them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-928-8000.