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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — The Indiana Youth Institute (“IYI”) has been awarded a $1.25 million grant from the Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction. Indiana is one of six recipients of the grant addressing statewide and regional mentoring initiatives for youth impacted by opioids.

The project, led by IYI, will serve mentees in eight Indiana counties, five of which are rural, and two of which have non-fatal opioid overdose rates that are significantly higher than the statewide rate.

“We are proud to lead this initiative with our partners at Big Brothers Big Sisters and Project Leadership,” said IYI President and CEO Tami Silverman. “Together, we can make a positive impact in the lives of Indiana children and better support these communities dealing with repercussions of the opioid epidemic.”

IYI will work in partnership with two Indiana Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana, and Project Leadership to increase the number of Indiana youth who are mentored by an adult with specialized training in opioid addiction, substance abuse disorders (SUDs), adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed practices. The enhanced training will provide an increased focus on preventing youth substance abuse while complementing the current mentoring models.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Indiana ranks 16th in the country for the number of drug overdose deaths.  As reported by the Indiana State Department of Health, 1,138 Hoosiers died in 2017 from opioid drug overdoses, a 215% increase from 2012. Also, 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties have experienced opioid drug overdose deaths from heroin or prescription opioids in the past five years.

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About the Indiana Youth Institute

For three decades, the Indiana Youth Institute has supported the youth services field through innovative trainings, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children.