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News Release: Health Department Receives Grants to Combat Substance Abuse and Poor Health

January 12, 2021

Volusia County, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County (DOH-Volusia) has received two national grants. Awarded by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the grants will address drug overdoses and decrease poor health outcomes associated with tobacco use.

As one of 10 recipients nationwide of the NACCHO Implementing Overdose Prevention Strategies at the Local Level grant, the agency will use the $500,000 grant to support activities that address the community’s challenges related to drug overdoses. The project runs from January 2021 through July 2022 and will focus on establishing linkages to care, enhancing partnerships with public safety and first responders, empowering individuals to make safer choices, and enhancing surveillance and data sharing. DOH-Volusia’s primary partners for this project include Volusia Recovery Alliance, SMA Healthcare, and the County of Volusia’s Department of Public Protection. These strategic partnerships will be used to build a peer workforce, improve data connectivity, provide education, and reduce stigma

“Ultimately this project aims to reduce the rate of repeat overdoses, reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder and opioid use disorder, and increase the acceptance of a peer workforce prevention model,” said DOH-Volusia Administrator Patricia Boswell.

DOH-Volusia is one of 50 communities across the nation to be awarded $50,000 to conduct a retrospective evaluation of strategies that advance health equity and improve chronic disease conditions by addressing the social determinants of health. This evaluation will occur between January 2021 and July 2021. In partnership with Bethune-Cookman University’s Master of Public Health program and the Volusia County Tobacco Free Partnership, DOH-Volusia has elected to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of implementing smoke-free policies in market-rate and senior housing. Residents of market-rate and senior housing in Volusia County are frequently of low to moderate income. People with low income have a higher rate of smoking than those with higher income and are often targeted by tobacco product advertising and promotion.

“This project will help us to identify improvements that will lead to a more streamlined process for implementing smoke-free policies in multi-unit housing,” Boswell added. “The end goal is a decrease in adverse health outcomes associated with tobacco use experienced by older adults and low-income adults in Volusia County.”

Both of these projects closely align with the Volusia County Community Health Improvement Plan’s goal to Improve adult behavioral health outcomes. The 2020-2022 plan is online at


About the Florida Department of Health

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