CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A total of $500,000 is now going to Charleston’s CARE Quick Response Team and Mental Health Coordinator to be used for continued substance use disorder treatment and support across the community.

Charleston City Council approved the funds for the Coordinated Addiction Response Effort (CARE) team during Monday night’s council meeting.

The money awarded to the team comes through the West Virginia First Foundation which was established to disperse Opioid Settlement Funds to municipalities across the state. The city received its first allocation of nearly $3 million through the WV First Foundation.

CARE team Director Taryn Wherry said they work with first responders to help people who may be overdosing or facing a mental health crisis.

“We’re not 24/7, but they’re available by call on the weekends to come out to make rounds around the city and help out where we can,” said Wherry.

The team also connects people to addiction services and treatment and provides outreach for those who are unsheltered and vulnerable.

Mayor Amy Goodwin said lawmakers are having to find more sources for funding for opioid and substance use treatment everywhere, and the WV First Foundation helps to serve as that source in the Mountain State.

“I know this to be sure, the reason why the majority of the funding comes from the federal government is because there’s a priority on these types of positions and this type of work across the country,” she said.

She said it’s the number one request for mayors across the state and the country to help fund services like this.

Goodwin said it has certainly been a priority of this administration to fund the CARE team.

“Its certainly been, we believe a good thing for not only just the community but to our fire department and our police department, and at least the majority of council members that I’ve spoken to, and what happens at the end of the day will be a priority of a different administration when that fund runs out,” Goodwin said.

The $500,000 is going to cover three positions within the Quick Response Team through the next year.

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