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Survey to address opioid crisis in Barton County
Team of county agencies addressing the problem
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Community members in Barton County, including the Health Department, and Central Kansas Community Corrections, understand the impact that opioids are having on the community, Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger told the County Commission Monday morning. That is why the Health Department along with, Juvenile Services and members of Rise Up wrote and received a cooperative agreement with the Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute for an opioid crisis response. 

“This agreement allows Barton County the ability to collaborate with the expertise of Wichita State University’s Community Engagement Institute to develop a survey, conduct the survey and provide a report summary on the beliefs of Barton County residents in regards to Opioid abuse and misuse as well as the treatment and recovery options in Barton County,” Boxberger said. 

Commissioners Monday approved the spending of $2,500 from an already-approved Kansas Department of Health and Environment Opioid Crisis Response Grant for the completion of the survey. And there is a need. 

“Barton County’s Robert Wood Johnson’s County Rankings and Roadmaps indicate a population in Barton County with a proclivity to drug use and criminal activity,” she said. “As this may be generational, we are determined to reach the hurt, broken and isolated members of our community and help understand the recovery and reduce the stigma of addiction at the same time,” she said. 

To get the word out, they will utilize social media and websites. “We have the ability to push this survey out to our community and understand what are ideas and assumptions on addiction and recovery may be and if Barton County is structured and prepared for those people who may be seeking healing in the form of treatment or recovery.”

Barton County will also leverage itself for more funding with a document that supports the needs of our county. 

The Community Engagement Institute’s Center for Applied Research and Evaluation will work in collaboration with the Barton County Health Department to fulfill the deliverables of this project. These include:

• Develop and administer a survey for providers and community members in Barton County.

• Provide instructions for survey distribution/dissemination.

• Create a report summarizing findings from the survey and possible next steps.

• Be available via telephone and/or e-mail if there are questions during administration and following report delivery.

The survey and report should be completed by mid October.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance:

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Heard complaints from residents along the 1030 block of NE 10th Avenue in South Homestead Township about the condition of the road in front of their homes. This has been an ongoing problem, they said.

“The road is atrocious,” said Michael Venditti. With his medical condition, he is fearful ambulances can’t get to his home.

Technically, the maintenance of such roads is the responsibility of the township, but the residents said they have complained to the township board for years.

They stayed around after the meeting to visit with commissioners about their problem.

• Approved cereal-malt beverage licences for businesses in unincorporated areas of the county. Per state statute, no retailer shall sell any cereal-malt beverage without having secured a license for that business. When a business is located in the unincorporated portion of the County, that application shall be made to the commissioner, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said. 

She presented applications for Terry Ray Miller, doing business as Miller Time LLC., in Beaver. This is the business previously known as Mo’s Place, and they will be selling beverages for consumption on the premises and for sale to go in unopened containers.

It will not be operating as a micro-brewery.

• Awarded the contract for reinforced concrete box culverts for the project on the Barton/Pawnee County line to L&M Contractors for $128,641. The county accepted bids until June 4 for the construction of two reinforced concrete box culverts on the county line west of Pawnee Rock. Four contractors submitted bids. Kirkham Michael, the project design firm, estimated the project cost would be $147,994, County Engineer Barry McManaman said. It is noted that Barton County will pay for the project with Special Bridge Funds, with Pawnee County providing a 50 percent reimbursement. 

There were four bids and L&M had the second lowest bid, with the lowest coming from Mies Construction of Wichita at $126,946. But, the L&M bid was only 1.33 percent higher, so special consideration was given to the local contractor.

• Approved the Health Department’s contract with Wichita State University, Community Engagement Institute survey work for the Opioid Crisis Response Grant. 

Community members in Barton County, including the Health Department and Central Kansas Community Corrections, understand the impact that opioids have on the community, said Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger. The Barton County Health Department, working with Juvenile Services and Rise Up, received Kansas Opioid Overdose Crisis Response Cooperative agreement funding. 

Barton County has collaborated with the WSU institute to develop, conduct and summarize the beliefs of Barton County residents in regard to opioid abuse, misuse, treatment and recovery, she said. The commission authorized expending $2,500 from the opioid grant to begin the survey work.

• Approved a vehicle replacement for Juvenile Services. The Juvenile Services Department accepted bids for the replacement of a 2009 Toyota Camry. The bid request was for a mid-sized car in good mechanical condition with less than 30,000 miles, Assistant Director Mike Daniel said.

The new car will be a 2014 Nissan Ultima from Manweiler Chevrolet of Hoisington. The agency has the money for the $6,900 difference in its budget, Daniel said.