NKU awarded $1.8M in federal grants to fight opioid epidemic

Northern Kentucky University recently received $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) to combat the opioid crisis. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the funds to establish and expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.

NKU, along with collaborators from across northern Kentucky, received more federal funding than any other university in the commonwealth to support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy. The university’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) has spent the past year working in communities greatly impacted by the crisis. According to the HHS, the number of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction at HRSA-funded health centers increased 142 percent from 2016-18. The IHI is working in Owen County, which has one of the highest risk rates for drug overdoses in the region – combined with very limited treatment facilities and multiple barriers to accessing them.

“The HRSA funds support Kentucky’s rural communities on the front lines of the opioid epidemic,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “This regional collaboration is necessary to enhance opioid use disorder services and expand early intervention and access to treatment and support. We are proud to partner to address this critical population health concern.”

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