UC Professor Awarded $1.2 Million in Grant Funds to Fight Opioid Crisis

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — For years, Dr. Lindsay Acree has been teaching people and community members how to properly use naloxone in the case of an overdose.

Now the assistant professor at the University of Charleston’s School of Pharmacy can continue that training thanks to $1.2 million worth of grants from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau of Behavioral Health.

The two grants awarded were the State Targeted Response Grant and the Prescription Drug Overdose Grant. The first will be used to provide naloxone to high-risk individuals within the Mountain State. The second will provide naloxone to four high-risk counties in the state of community training and distribution.

According to Acree, this helps in the more rural parts of the state.

“More rural parts of the state are very hard hit, and being able to have access to naloxone to save lives is really important,” Acree told 13 News.

“Especially considering the amount of time it could take EMS to respond because it is so rural. It could take 20, 30, even 40 minutes. That could be life or death for someone,” she explained.

According to a press release from the University of Charleston’s School of Pharmacy, the grant could help reduce the amount of drug overdoses by 30 percent in the counties hit hardest.

The University of Charleston School Of Pharmacy will collaborate with West Virginia University and the Bureau of Behavioral Health to identify high-risk counties that indicated a need for naloxone as a community intervention for overdose.

Student pharmacists from the university will assist in facilitation of this project and will gain hands-on experience in the treatment of substance use disorders.

“I am that by getting this out into the community, more people can use it,” said Acree. “And we will have it in the hands of more people that can use it to help save people lives.”

This grant comes just a few months after a CDC report suggest not enough narcan is used.

According to the study, “Despite a huge increase in naloxone prescribing in recent years, CDC researchers report that far too little naloxone is being dispensed in many areas of the country that need it the most.”

 

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