$2 Million Grant to Help NKU Address Impact on Children of Parents' Opioid Use
Northern Kentucky University's Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) announced a new program addressing the impact on local families of local use of opioids.
The U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services' Bureau of Health Workforce awarded over $2 million dollars to NKU.
The funds will be used to create the Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program (OIFSP), an effort to increase the region's number of health professionals trained to support children and adolescents whose parents have been impacted by substance misuse. Through the program, affected families can receive support with connecting to resources, navigating health and social services, a news release said.
"This program infuses our health care ecosystem with a trained, effective workforce that goes the extra mile with what's most important for families: healthy relationships and support for their children," said Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHI executive director and vice president for health innovation. "Recent estimates show northern Kentucky has about a fifth of treatment capacity for outpatient services, leaving over 8,000 patients without appropriate treatment options. This is something we must address."
Overdose rates are considerably higher than the national average in Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen and Pendleton Counties, a news release said. The overdose rates in these counties has nearly doubled throughout the pandemic.
To increase the health care capital for this eight-county region, NKU is developing a specialized track within its human services and addiction undergraduate program. The grant will also create scholarship opportunities for students as well as year-long paid apprenticeships.
"Training paraprofessionals to provide support services is a cost-effective and efficient health care solution for an under-resourced region, like northern Kentucky," said Dr. Hardcastle.
Additional primary partners for the program include NorthKey Community Care, Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Brighton Center and the Children's Home of Northern Kentucky.