County receives more than $3M in grants to combat addiction, treat mental illness

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SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County officials announced Tuesday that the county received four grants totaling more than $3 million to combat addiction and treat mental illness.

The grants, ranging from $500,000 to $900,000, were awarded to the Bexar County Opioid Prevention and Intervention Program, the Bexar County Women's Mental Health County and the Bexar County Family Drug Court.

The grants will allow the county to create, for the first time, a specialized docket for women with mental illness and/or an addiction to opioids.

Felony Drug Court Judge Ernie Glen said funding, such as the grants received Tuesday, has allowed officials to connect people to local addiction and mental health resources versus keeping them incarcerated.

"Before we had funding for certain types of treatment programs, a lot of women that were pregnant and had criminal cases would sit in jail because judges were sometimes afraid to let them out to go back and use the opiates again, especially heroin," Glen said. "Now that we have funding like this, they can go to organizations like Alpha Home, Volunteers of America, some of these other organizations  that help."

The four grants will fund training for members of the Joint Opioid Taskforce and county treatment courts, as well as fund partnerships with local universities.