Health Department hires substance abuse and mental health program manager to fight opioid crisis – Salisbury Post

Health Department Hires Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Administrator to Fight Opioid Crisis.

Posted on Thursday March 16, 2023 at 12:09 am

SALISBURY — Hailey Edwards is the newest addition to the Rowan County Public Health Department’s team focused on reducing opioid overdoses and deaths in the county.

Edwards was hired as the substance use and mental health program manager and will be responsible for overseeing the department’s substance abuse programs, including: Hope program“The Rowan County Public Health, Rowan County Emergency Medical Services and Preventive Services Center Collaboration is a partnership that provides support to individuals who use opioids and/or are at risk of opioid overdose.”

Edwards will ensure that the program, as well as others going forward, run smoothly. She also provides strategic direction, collaborates with agencies like United Way, and heads up the administration department, which is primarily about making sure the department and team have all the tools they need to do their jobs.

Edwards, who got his start in health care in 2009 while living in Florida, moved to Rowan County in 2017 and took a job with Novant Health Psychiatric Care and Counseling, doing front-office duties.

“Working with substance abuse and mental health is where I got my foot in the door, and then I was able to work in Rowan County and surrounding counties to learn about the struggles of the people we serve,” Edwards said. .

She’s only been on the job for four weeks, but Edwards is already committed to making her team as successful as possible.

“My focus is really on working on the internal team, building it, making sure all the pieces are in place and strengthening it,” Edwards said. “We have a couple of things to work on to improve our data. I really want to adjust the team so that when we start growing and releasing things, we can do that as best we can.

As the Department of Health introduces more programs and services, Edwards needs to be behind the scenes to make sure things are running smoothly, especially when it comes to the critical administrative work of program management.

Last year, the county received $15 million as part of the statewide opioid settlement. The money will be spent over a 17-year period and will be used to implement various strategies that the department believes are most effective in addressing the opioid epidemic, such as recovery support services, naloxone distribution, overdose response teams and syringe service programs. Edwards will be instrumental in ensuring these initiatives are successful.

“This administration is huge,” said Health Department Director Alyssa Harris. “A lot of what Hailey provides is the strategic direction and the managerial side… It’s going to be a lot to keep track of everything.”

Previously, Edwards worked as a behavioral health program manager, studying the relationship and outcomes of grants and building programs.

That’s where I was able to really see how you can apply it to helping individuals in need,” she says. “So when I saw this position, specifically overseeing the HOPE program and the solution opportunity, I thought, ‘This is my passion and this is an opportunity to really help individuals.'”

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