In response to the estimated $30 million dollars in grants being awarded to several state agencies in Kansas from the Federal government for use in battling opioid and substance use disorders, Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D. today announced his coordinated effort to ensure those funds are targeted toward addressing prevention and treatment of substance use disorders in Kansas.

“The timing couldn’t be better for this funding to reach our state,” said Governor Colyer. “The health of Kansans takes top priority, and with the misuse of opioids threatening the health of many in our state, I am determined that we target these grants specifically toward efforts that will hit the problem head on and stem the tide of addiction and death from abusing opioids and other harmful substances.”

Governor Colyer has asked state agencies receiving this money to identify specific ways that it can be used toward this effort. Already, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) have identified several specific ways to use these new funds. (See below).

“Effective treatment is so important to overcoming opioid addiction,” said KDADS Secretary Tim Keck. “We are committed to working with our State and community partners to target our resources to effective programs and services for this and other substance issues.”

To keep the effort organized and centralized, Gov. Colyer has designated Dr. Greg Lakin as the State’s Central Authority on Substance Use. This action was one of the recommendations made by the Governor’s Substance Use Disorder Task Force organized by Governor Colyer earlier this year. In this role, Lakin will be responsible for coordinating relevant State agencies and their response to substance use issues, such as the opioid epidemic. Dr. Lakin currently serves as the State’s Chief Health Officer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and chaired the Governor’s Substance Use Disorder Task Force this year. He also serves on the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee.

“We have an opportunity to help people struggling with addiction,” Dr. Lakin said. “By working together on this issue on a statewide and individual level, we will see successful outcomes. It will take the combined efforts of State agencies, stakeholders and communities. I appreciate the Governor allowing me to lead this crucial effort.”

One of Dr. Lakin’s patients shared her experience about the importance of support and coordinated services. Mandi Sims, Salina, suffered numerous injuries during a motor vehicle accident as a teenager. Following a reconstructive surgery, she was prescribed medication for the pain. She says after only a few weeks, she had developed an addiction that ultimately led to a prison sentence and the removal of her children from her care. While pregnant with her fourth child, she consulted with Dr. Lakin, and believes her substance use is now behind her. Her children have since been reintegrated into her home, and she has stable employment.

“He literally saved my life,” Sims said. “I have been through so much because of addiction. I am very grateful to everyone who is dedicated to ending this epidemic. Addiction takes away so much, but with the help and support of well-intentioned and caring health professionals, you can get your life back.”

KDHE indicates that 326 Kansans died of a drug overdose in 2017, 36% involved a prescription opioid drug or substance (e.g., hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, etc), 23% involved a psychostimulant (e.g., methamphetamine), and 7% involved a heroin. Although Kansas is below the national average for fatal opioid overdoses, the opioid crisis is an emerging threat that remains a challenge for the state to address, including the rise in drug overdoses due to psychostimulant drugs. Increases in opioid related drug misuse and deaths parallel the increase in prescription and illicit opioid availability.

Learn more about substance use disorders in our state, at

Grant Implementation Plan

Grant Title: “State Opioid Response” (SOR) grant
Funding Amount:  $4,047,286
Project Period:  9/30/2018 – 10/29/2019

Implementation plan for State Opioid Response (SOR) grant:

  • KDADS plans to serve more than 1,400 additional consumers. Grant funds will be used to:
    • Increase access to treatment
    • Reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention and treatment services,
    • Increase access to recovery activities for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) including prescription opioids, as well as, illicit drugs such as heroin
    • Provide for data collection and reporting, including client-level data collection; reporting will be provided by The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center.
    • Coordinate activities to eliminate duplication of services and programs
    • Assess the needs of Kansas tribes using a strategic planning process and build a relationship with the Tribal Liaison; provide training and support to Kansas tribes.
    • Increase the capacity of medical and other health care settings to complete screening, brief intervention and referrals to treatment(SBIRT) for OUD
    • Expand the access to physicians and other eligible practitioners who are authorized to prescribe Buprenorphine and other opioid withdrawal management medications.
    • Create access to telehealth assessment and telehealth treatment resources in areas of Southeast and Western Kansas where services are lacking
    • Enhance care coordination with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) providers and increase the number of MAT providers
    • Provide training and support to areas in Western Kansas to increase number of Oxford Houses in the regions.
      • Oxford Houses are a self-run, self-supported residential recovery programs for individuals recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. Oxford Houses assure an alcohol and drug-free living environment.
    • Provide effective community education and training related to overdose prevention
    • Increase Naloxone utilization by first responders, behavioral health communities and healthcare providers


Grant Implementation Plan

Grant Title: Opioid Overdose Crisis Cooperative Agreement
Funding Amount: $2,434,248.00 – one-time funding
Project Period:  09/1/2018 – 08/31/2019

Implementation plan for Opioid Overdose Crisis Cooperative Agreement:

  • Approximately $1,000,000 from this initiative has been allocated to provide funding awards to up to 25 community-level organizations, such as local health departments, to implement local-level opioid misuse and overdose prevention and intervention strategies.
  • Designing and disseminating a naloxone evaluation survey to law enforcement agencies across Kansas to determine which agencies do and do not equip their law enforcement officers with naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, or offer it for carry.
  • Providing education and trainings to emergency medical services personnel regarding best practices in managing opioid overdoses
  • Developing a continuing-education credited learning module for Kansas community health workers around opioid use disorder and overdose prevention and response
  • Providing trainings to health care providers on best practices for prevention and treatment strategies, including: implementing the CDC Prescribing Guidelines for Chronic Pain, using Kansas’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, K-TRACS, and obtaining the DATA-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine for medication assisted treatment.
  • Enhancing information systems for the forensic science centers located in South Central and North Eastern Kansas to promote the timely development of rapid reports on suspected overdose deaths.
  • Promoting use of the new system capacity and educating coroners regarding documentation of specific causes of death for drug overdoses
  • Disseminating the CDC Rx Awareness video messaging in movie theatre pre-shows, to raise public awareness of the risks associated with prescription opioids.
  • Educating local health department staff on the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment process (SBIRT).
  • Funded communities will implement the Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) to build an innovative and effective model of community-level coordination.
  • Engaging local emergency departments to identify and implement promising emergency department opioid overdose protocols, policies, and procedures.
  • Working with local treatment providers to facilitate the approvals process for implementation of Senate Bill 123 (2003-SB123).
  • Providing funding to facilitate an opioid summit for education targeted to law enforcement, Fire/EMS, emergency room physicians, coroners, and prosecutors.
  • Enhance opioid overdose syndromic surveillance in emergency departments.