substance abuse

Deborah Shaar / KMUW/File photo

Crisis care in the Wichita area is about to undergo a major overhaul.

A new plan released Thursday lays out the steps to improving mental health and substance abuse services over the next five years.

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A Wichita group that works to prevent substance abuse in the community is trying a new approach to reach at-risk young people.

The Safe Streets Coalition selected five students to serve as mental health advocates for their peers at Wichita high schools. Safe Streets calls their teen volunteers “youth mobilizers.”

Program leader Ngoc Vuong says youth mobilizers will support students who struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse.

Multiple organizations in Wichita that provide mental health, substance abuse and homeless services plan to team up with the police department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office.

They all will work together to prevent people who are seeking care from getting lost in the system.

“Over the last few years, recognizing that with the systems that are siloed … you had mental health, you had substance abuse, homelessness and all of them with different missions and with different monies,” said Harold Casey, executive director of the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas.

courtesy / / Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center

Veterans who struggle with substance abuse disorders will have a new treatment option in south-central Kansas.

The Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center is building a residential rehabilitation facility on its Wichita campus.

When it opens next year, veterans will no longer have to drive to Topeka, Leavenworth or Kansas City for inpatient VA care.

Dr. John Chelf, associate chief of staff for behavioral health, says the unlocked facility fills the gap between outpatient counseling and locked inpatient treatment.

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A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $736,000 to expand.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Sedgwickcounty.org

Sedgwick County’s community mental health program Comcare is working to bring services for substance abuse patients into its Community Crisis Center in downtown Wichita.

Renovations to the 24-hour Community Crisis Center on North Main are expected to be complete next week. Then, the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas will move its detox and sobering unit into the building.