Press Release: MO-HOPE Project Marks Completion of First Year on International Overdose Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandon Costerison
314-962-3456 x315 (office)
314-669-4636 (cell)

(St. Louis)- Today the Missouri Opioid-Heroin Overdose Prevention and Education (MO-HOPE) Project, a partnership between the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Missouri Institute for Mental Health (MIMH) – University of Missouri St. Louis, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse- St. Louis Area (NCADA-STL), completes its first year of work. In this first year, 1500 people have been trained and 5800 doses of naloxone have been distributed.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in a year, but we have a long way to go,” said Brandon Costerison, MO-HOPE Project Manager with NCADA. “We’ve developed strong relationships with over 45 organizations; from police departments to sober living homes, ambulance districts to treatment providers. We’re proud of what we’ve done, and looking forward to continued growth.”

In addition to trainings, the MO-HOPE Project has worked to increase public awareness of overdose risk factors, expanded access to naloxone, treatment options, and St. Louis City’s Good Samaritan Ordinance.

“MO-HOPE evaluations show us that people are more confident and prepared to respond to an overdose after our training,” said Dr. Rachel Winograd, MO-HOPE Lead Investigator at MIMH. “Also, we are seeing that attitudes towards drug use, overdose, and naloxone also change. Our work is not just about giving people naloxone — it’s about communicating why harm reduction is an important part of our approach to drug use.”

The MO-HOPE Project is also creating empirical infrastructure to provide data-driven information to decision makers at all levels. MIMH, in partnership with emergency response agencies and community partners, has developed an Overdose Field Reporting system to track overdose events and reversals across the state. These data will allow quick analysis of emerging overdose trends and a statewide repository of critical information that can be leveraged to guide programs and policies.

“The State of Missouri is committed to supporting efforts to combat the opioid epidemic,” said Mark Stringer, Director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health. “Initiatives like the MO-HOPE Project and the Opioid State Targeted Response grant [STR] are engaging community partners to save lives and increase access to treatment.”

The MO-HOPE Project is a 5 year project funded through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NCADA is a community health agency that works to reduce or prevent the harms of alcohol and other drug use through education, intervention and advocacy.

MIMH tackles challenging mental health gaps through leadership in scientific discovery, development and optimization of mental health programs, training of treatment providers in best practices, and implementation of community-based prevention and public health programs.

The Department of Mental Health offers prevention, treatment and promotion of public understanding for Missourians with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders.  The Department strives to see that all Missourians receiving mental health services have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live their lives as valued members of their communities.

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