BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The Boone County Health Department has received funding from the U.S. Justice Department to battle opioid and alcohol abuse.  It will go towards its Community Outreach, Advocacy and Recovery or ‘COAR’ program.

“Programs like ours really get down in the trenches with our clients and we help them put all of those somewhat small pieces together, but they make a big difference,” says COAR Program manager, Jessica Perillo.

It was created in 2019 when the Boone County Behavioral Health Task Force received the grant to address behavioral health. They are continuing these efforts with the same grant this year.

Perillo says, “The COAR program actually has grant funded staff members that link individuals in the criminal justice system and also just in the community to recovery support services all around the area.”

One employee the grant pays for is stationed in the Boone County jail. They help individuals with anything from housing, health insurance, or treatment. The grant will also cover medications for the county so inmates can receive medicines before they are released. According to Perillo, COAR provides whatever the client needs for a successful re-entry into society.

“When you’re trying to be sober, when you’re trying to stay on the recovery path, there are a lot of things that you have to do,” she says.

Perillo believes the county’s program is helpful in a time where resources are limited.

“I mean there really is such a lack of access to care because there just doesn’t seem to be enough which means there’s waitlists and if anyone knows anyone wanting treatment, when they want the treatment, they want it now. And it’s really the best practice to get the treatment as soon as they become motivated,” Perillo states.

The grant totals $778,305 over a three-year period.