NOC, NWOSU receive grant to fight opioid addiction

Northern Oklahoma College and Northwestern Oklahoma State University will partner to fight opioid addiction on their campuses, supported by a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

NOC and Northwestern are two of five Oklahoma colleges and universities to receive grant funds through a $250,000 State Opioid Response – Higher Education Community Outreach Grant administered through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The grant will fund campus efforts to prevent opioid misuse and provide referral services for those needing treatment.

“We are pleased that as a result of this grant, students will have more access to resources that can help prevent addiction and also help those in need of treatment identify recovery services,” said Dr. Evans. “NOC is pleased to partner with Northwestern Oklahoma State University on this important initiative to help our students.”

Northwestern President Dr. Janet Cunningham said the grant is needed to help prevent addiction.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in the number of opioid prescriptions with eight out of 10 residents having a prescription,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “In addition, more overdose deaths in our state involve prescription opioids than all illicit drugs combined. We have a responsibility to help prevent opioid abuse and provide resources to help those who are addicted.”

Both institutions will provide outreach, engagement and evidence-based prevention services, including health education, promotion and community consultation. Efforts will focus on the general student population, as well as students at risk for opioid misuse, opioid disorder and opioid overdose. These institutions also will develop and maintain online resources for opioid abuse prevention and treatment.

Additionally, grant funds will be used to support training for faculty, staff and students in the prevention and treatment of opioid misuse and overdose, including naloxone administration, access to treatment services, how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, and safe storage and disposal of opioids.

Peer health educators will provide campus-based student training on opioid misuse and prevention. Tribal connections are also a part of the institutions’ plans to utilize and extend access to community resources.