USU Extension Receives Grants to Fight Opioid Crisis in Rural Areas

    USU Extension Receives Grants to Fight Opioid Crisis in Rural Areas

    October 4, 2018

    USU EXTENSION RECEIVES GRANTS TO FIGHT OPIOID CRISIS IN RURAL AREAS

    Utah State University Extension recently received two grants totaling over $1.4 million to fund projects focused on preventing and reducing opioid use disorder in rural areas.  

    The two grants include the Rural Health and Safety Education Grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).living

    USU Extension is choosing to focus on harm reduction and stigma reduction strategies, according to Sandra Sulzer, principle investigator and director of the HEART (Health Extension: Advocacy, Research & Teaching) initiative and a USU Extension assistant professor of health and wellness. Co-Principal Investigator Suzanne Prevedel is partnering with individual members of the Ute tribe, Indian Health Services and an inter-tribal council to bring these materials to Native American communities. 

    The NIFA project will fund an online and in-person harm reduction curriculum for substance use disorder counselors in Utah. The curriculum will initially be available in five rural counties: Emery, Carbon, Uintah, Duchesne and Daggett. After evaluating how it is received in these counties, it will be available across all of Utah. The SAMHSA grant will extend this work to community members through a combination of online volunteer training, community events and outreach, all designed to reduce stigma around harm reduction strategies. 

    “Utah is, in many ways, an unusually healthy state,” Sulzer said. “We have some of the lowest rates of cancer in the nation and lower-than-average tobacco and alcohol use rates. Nonetheless, opioids have been a major issue.”

    Sulzer said that between 2000 and 2015, the state saw a 400 percent increase in deaths resulting from the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. From 2013-2015, Utah ranked seventh in the nation for drug overdose deaths, the majority of which were opioid related.

    “And some counties, such as Carbon and Emery, have rates well above that state average,” she said. “This puts them among the hardest hit in the nation.”

    This project will ensure that evidence-based practices are being used by health care providers in rural areas so that adults struggling with addiction receive the best possible opportunity to overcome their challenges.

    To learn more about USU Extension programs, visit extension.usu.edu.

    Writer: Shelby Ruud shelby.ruud@usu.edu

    Contact: Sandra Sulzer sandra.sulzer@usu.edu

    Published on: Oct 05, 2018

    Related Articles

    Three Ways to Avoid the Impact of Medical Debt

    Three Ways to Avoid the Impact of Medical Debt

    For those who may be in or facing bankruptcy, medical debt is the top reason for this financial distress. Medical debt has threatened the financial stability of many of America's vulnerable: the sick, the elderly, the poor, veterans and the middle class.

    Read More
    USU Extension Specialist Receives Grant for Agricultural Water Conservation Research

    USU Extension Specialist Receives Grant for Agricultural Water Conservation Research

    Matt Yost, a Utah State University Extension specialist, recently received a New Innovator Award from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture. This award is designed to give early-career faculty members the investment needed to establish scientific research projects.

    Read More
    Tips for Weathering Winter Storms

    Tips for Weathering Winter Storms

    The recent frigid Arctic air encompassing much of the mid-west caused mass transit, businesses and schools to shut down. It also was responsible for several deaths. If you were caught in such adverse conditions, unable to leave home because of a snow/ice storm or you were in your car stuck in a snowbank several miles from home, how would you fare?

    Read More