St. James Healthcare plans to lead a slew of organizations in developing plans to combat substance use, and specifically opioid use, in five southwest Montana counties including Jefferson County, using a $1 million grant the health care system received from the federal government. 

In a Sept. 30 news release, St. James Healthcare announced that the grant, from the Health Resources Services Administration's Federal Office for Rural Communities Opioid Response Programs, would fund needs assessments and the development of plans for "prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions for opioid use disorder." 

The initiative covers Silver Bow, Deer Lodge, Beaverhead, Madison and Jefferson counties, and St. James will work in conjunction with "the Montana Hospital Association, Montana Chemical Dependency Center, Montana’s Peer Network, Butte-Silver Bow Health Department and Sheriff Department, Southwest Montana Community Health Center, AWARE Inc, Community Counseling and Correctional Services, and Action Inc.," according to the release. 

"These partnerships will allow us to work with both existing and new partners to build an approach to addressing prevention, treatment, and recovery for opioid use disorder in a fashion that will help our community members in southwest Montana," St. James Healthcare President Jay Doyle stated in the release. 

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