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NKU Awarded $200,000 to Fight Opioid Misuse in Owen Co.

A $200,000 federal grant was awarded to Northern Kentucky University's Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) to help combat the opioid crisis in rural Kentucky.

The Health Resources and Service Administration's funding will support expanding interventions for opioid misuse in Owen County.

The IHI will also use the funds to develop innovative approaches for health related workforce development in Owen County which could serve as blueprint for other rural communities, a news release said. Owen County 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. 

“We are excited to maximize the resources of NKU and its commitment to population health to leverage national best practices and regional collaboration to close gaps in opioid use disorder services and expand early intervention and access to treatment and support in Owen County”, said Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHIexecutive director and vice president for Health Innovation. “This multi-pronged approach to opioid use disorder will significantly impact not only Owen County, but our entire region.”

Additional partners for the project include Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Three Rivers Health District, Owen County Schools, Owen County Drug Prevention Coalition, and NorthKey, Owen County’s designated community mental health center.

The IHI opened earlier this year in an effort to develop pioneering solutions to the health challenges facing the region.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000 with no percentage financed with nongovernmental sources.

-Staff report

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