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Helen Ross McNabb to partner with UT Medical Center emergency room

The United Health Foundation awarded Helen Ross McNabb a three-year $1 million grant. More details will be announced at a gathering Wednesday morning.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Helen Ross McNabb Center announced it is partnering with UT Medical Center to help connect emergency room patients with support and resources.

The United Health Foundation awarded Helen Ross McNabb a three-year $1.05 million grant to help expand the University of Tennessee's Medical Center's Emergency Room Substance Misuse Harm Reduction and Engagement Program.

In a release, it states the grant and new partnership will have more access to care providers and behavioral health services throughout East Tennesse. 

RELATED: 10TakesBack: WBIR and MDC to hold drug take-back July 19 

More details will be announced at a gathering Wednesday morning. 

Helen Ross McNabb said it hopes to engage more than 250 patients per year, with the goal that 100 of those patients will accept referrals to outpatient or other treatment options. 

"We've got to be innovative, we've got to be cutting-edge, we've got to meet people where they are, when they need the help, and when they need the hope," said Hilde Phipps, the senior director of outpatient substance use and specialty services at Helen Ross McNabb. 

Phipps said they interviewed several overdose survivors about the help they could have used and when. 

According to America's Health Rankings, Tennessee averaged 22 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2018--nearly doubling over the past 12 years. 

"I never really seen myself living without using drugs," Jessica Stanley said. 

Stanley is 25 years old and will be three years clean in a few weeks. She started using when she was 13. 

"It was back to back, treatment, jail, treatment, jail, throw some Narcan in there," Stanley said.

She said she's been administered Narcan three times. The third time, a firefighter pulled her out of her car, and that changed her. 

"Someone cared enough about my life to physically remove me from the situation," Stanley said.  

Stanley is a mom of two and a certified peer recovery specialist, where she helps others with their recovery process. 

"They appreciate that a lot, that it's someone not far from where they could be or somewhere they could imagine themselves in three years," Stanley said. 

She's proud of how far she's come. 

"Gives me more motivation to keep moving forward because I don't want to be back there," Stanley said.