By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Two Canadian County departments are seeking grant funds to combat the harmful, addictive effects of opioid drugs.
The Canadian County Children’s Justice Center and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office would receive funding through Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting Sept. 18, approved letters of intent for both county government offices to submit opioid abatement grant award applications to the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board.
On Aug. 28, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced this board planned to issue up to $23 million in opioid grant awards.
“Oklahoma’s opioid epidemic continues to exact a devastating toll on our people,” Drummond said. “Addiction and abuse do not discriminate.
“Oklahomans of all walks are threatened by the menace of opioids, primarily fentanyl. It is critical that we maximize these available funds by getting them to where they can be most effective.”
Eligible entities are Oklahoma’s counties, municipalities, public school districts, technology school districts, and public trusts that solely benefit any of these political subdivisions.
The Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board is eager to distribute the money to awardees that will work to counter the opioid crisis, according to AG Drummond.
This marks the first distribution of funds by the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board, which was established three years ago.
Grant recipients may use funds for treatment and recovery programs, assistance with co-occurring disorders and mental health issues, opioid abuse education and prevention, efforts to ensure proper prescribing of opioids, and strategies to decrease the supply of narcotics.
Canadian County’s population was 154,405 in the 2020 U.S. Census, Canadian County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson pointed out in the letter authorizing the grant request.
Canadian County’s estimated population on July 1, 2022 was 169,149, Census Bureau data shows.
Canadian County is Oklahoma’s fourth largest county, after Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Cleveland. The population has more than doubled over the past three decades.
The Oklahoma Legislature approved the Political Subdivisions Opioid Abatement Grants Act “to promote the health of Oklahomans by using monetary grants to abate the opioid crisis in a comprehensive manner that includes cooperation and collaboration with political subdivisions.
The nine-member Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board is comprised of the attorney general and representatives of the governor, state auditor and inspector, state treasurer, state superintendent of public instruction, speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and president pro tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.
ODDS ‘N ENDS
Among other business at their Sept. 18th meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:
- A letter correcting the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) county bridge inventory list – to move a bridge along Shepard Avenue south of Hefner Road from Canadian County to the City of El Reno.
- An application from the Emergency Management Department for an Oklahoma emergency management performance grant.
- A resolution to allow the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office to accept a $100 donation from Dennis Sorensen for the K-9 program.
Canadian County Jail Administrator Kristie Carter on Sept. 18 presented the weekly county jail report to Canadian County Commissioners.
The update showed an inmate population totaling 204, with 174 prisoners at the El Reno detention center and 30 others housed in contracted counties.
The total count is down 12 from last week as 41 prisoners await transfer to state Department of Corrections (DOC) custody.