Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) has received funding through two grants to prevent the spread of opioid abuse in the state of Oklahoma. The primary grant is the State Opioid Response Higher Education Community Outreach Grant (SOR), which provides NEO with over $54,000 to develop a communication and outreach program to train students, faculty, and staff in culturally responsive approaches to identifying and treating opioid abuse.

“NEO remains committed to the overall well-being of our faculty, staff, and students and is eager to work with our partners to address the challenges associated with opioid abuse,” said Dr. Jeff Hale, NEO President. “Thanks to the hard work of Title III Grant Coordinator Rachel Lloyd and Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Ishmael, we obtained this grant and can continue our efforts around overall wellness.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), Oklahoma is second in the nation for opioid prescription rates among states that provided data. Over 88 people per every 100 was prescribed an opioid in 2017, leading to 10 opioid involved overdose deaths for every 100,000 people.

The SOR grant gives NEO tools to identify potential abuse, but they also provide extra resources to combat addiction. The SOR grant will provide funding for a project coordinator, a licensed professional counselor, a graduate counseling practicum student, and student assistants to counsel those struggling with drug abuse and their families. The grant also provides for drug deactivation and disposal to prevent abuse.

In addition to the SOR grant, NEO will also receive over $15,000 through a collaboration on a Health Resource & Service Administration (HRSA) grant that specifically focuses on opioid abuse within native communities. The Indian Health Service shows that Native Americans have the second highest overdose death rate among racial/ethnic groups in the nation.

"This grant, along with the state award, positions NEO to take an active leadership role in research and planning on health disparities in Ottawa County,” said Dr. Linda Sue Warner, special native counsel to President Hale. “We will partner as part of the ImPACT Consortium with Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, to address opioid abuse in a comprehensive way.”

To learn more about the SOR and HRSA grants, contact Jennifer Osburn at jennifer.osburn@neo.edu or by calling 918-540-6298.