Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission receives national award for opioid initiatives

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge or Caitlin Jones

ST. JAMES—Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) received a 2021 Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the Meramec Region Rural Opioid Initiatives. 

To address the growing problem of opioid use disorder, MRPC secured grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and AmerisourceBergen Foundation to provide education, awareness, and prevention strategies within MRPC’s eight-county region. MRPC does this through two separate consortiums – the Meramec Region Rural Opioid Program (MRROP) and the Opioid Affected Youth Initiative (OAYI). 

The Meramec Region’s Rural Opioid Initiative impact is directly targeting opioid/substance use prevention education, expanding the knowledge of community and treatment resources, and changing the region’s social stigma of opioid addiction. To this end, MRPC has hosted a workshop for employers that focused on opioids in the workplace and hiring individuals in recovery, have completed community needs assessments and a study on Naloxone, implemented the Seeking Safety Program in county jails and with youth in the region, have held county-level community conversations bringing youth and stakeholders within the community together, worked with Prevention Consultants of Missouri to implement Too Good for Drugs in area schools, continued the Rehabilitation through Innovations with Dr. Sean Siebert of Invent Yourself, LLC in county jails, hosted awareness walks in several communities in the region and have published video testimonials to highlight Stories from Our Region – The Opioid Epidemic. 

NADO is a Washington, DC-based membership association of regional development organizations that promote programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.  The association’s Impact Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities.  

Award-winning projects were recognized during NADO’s 2021 Annual Training Conference, held in Portland, OR, on October 16-19.  The 2021 class of award recipients consists of 102 projects from 70 organizations spanning 24 states.  These projects are presented in an interactive “Story Map,” developed by NADO that includes project summaries, partners, and images.  The Story Map is available online at:  https://www.nado.org/2021_impactawards/

“During the past 20 months, regional development organizations across the country have shown just how valuable they are in supporting the local communities they serve,” said 2019-2021 NADO President Kevin Byrd, executive director of the New River Valley Regional Commission, located in Radford, VA.  “From COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives, to workforce and economic development projects, to social services programs and much more, the 2021 NADO Impact Awardees highlight the many ways our members work on the ground every day to improve quality of life in their regions.”  

The NADO Impact Awards are presented in honor of the late Aliceann Wohlbruck who was NADO’s first executive director and served 24 years as a tireless champion for regional approaches to economic development in rural communities.

For more information about the Meramec Region Rural Opioid Initiatives, contact MRROP project lead Samantha Sherman and OAYI project lead Jane Johannsen at 573-265-2993 or via email at ssherman@meramecregion.org or jjohannsen@meramecregion.org, respectively. 

Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Steve Vogt, representing the city of Belle, serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 36 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.