Servolution receives grant to begin strategic plan in fighting opioid war

Published 4:53 pm Monday, July 15, 2019

When looking at a map of Tennessee, Speedwell doesn’t jump out as recognizable as Memphis or Nashville. It is a problem, though, that the small community is battling that has put them in a category with those two large cities, alongside Mountain City.

“We are one of four in the State of Tennessee that received the grant and that was a pretty big deal,” Project Director Deborah Chumley explained. “Health Services Resource Agency selected us to receive the opioid response planning grant, and that will allow us to take a year to plan to provide different resources and so forth in the area for prevention, treatment and recovery.”

Through the hard work of Deborah Chumley and Alicia Metcalf at Servolution Health Services, the clinic applied for the grant earlier this year and recently found out they received it.

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“In the first year, we will be seeing what resources we do have and what the gaps are and then developing a plan on how do we fill those gaps,” she explained. “We’re excited because it was a big deal to get this. Of course, there are other things that are going on within each individual place.”

Chumley said that she is seeing more movement in attacking this problem than ever before.

“More people are talking about it and more people are getting involved,” she said. “Our mayor at the county level and I know Middlesboro has things going on too. There are more good things happening than I have seen in a very long time. If we don’t do something, we are losing a generation, we are losing half of our kids.”

Chumley explains that the personal long-term goal is to have more counseling services and things like that for children.

“That’s long term and this planning grant will kind of give us the tools to get to that point,” she said. “We were really pleased to get the grant because it fits in to what we already do. We have seen the need since we became a Rural Health Clinic. We have seen more and more of the grandparents raising the grandchildren and being about half of our kids are being raised by someone other than a custodial parent.”

Chumley explained that the community is seeing a lot of that due to the opioid problems that are region-wide.

“So, what do we do about it,” she asked. “We have started after school programs with music programs, dance and fitness too. We are hoping to add more things in the future. We are trying to get what these grandparents need or the caregivers. We want to get what kind of resources they need to be successful with their kids.”

Another issue is that a lot of children don’t have insurance, and that is due to the custody issues.

“We have been trying to help the parents or grandparents get insurance if they don’t have it,” Chumley said.

According to Chumley, 52 percent of children in Claiborne County are being raised by someone other than a custodial parent.

“I do know in one school in this county, it is 90 percent of the children are being raised by someone other than their parents,” she said.

There are building blocks to the grant and Chumley explained what the first year is going to look like.

“Our partners are DCOM, and they are going to help with the research piece of the grant,” she said. “County government with the sheriff’s office and mayor’s office, and the Stand in the Gap Coalition. That is the partnership, and then we had a lot of supporting partners that wrote letters.”

The first part is to define what each role is within the partnership.

“The MOU, the Memorandum of Understanding and from there we do a needs analysis,” explained Chumley. “We are going to survey different perspectives like grandparents, hopefully people that are incarcerated, EMTs, teachers and so forth to get the different perspectives. We will get what the gaps are and what we need, and we will take that information and develop a strategic plan.”

That information will be taken to see what the need will be within the region.

“Do we need a treatment center, do we need support groups, do we need behavioral health services for children, not just for Claiborne County but regionally,” she said. “Then, from that we can get all those steps in there to get a workforce plan.”

She explained that once that is all tied in, they will then write an implementation grant at that point and that would be the three-year period to put the strategic plan in place.

To learn more about Servolution Health Services, you can call them during business hours at 423-419-5070.