Federal grant creates NKU’s rural responses to the Opioid Epidemic Program

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) has announced a new federal grant funded program to continue addressing the opioid epidemic in rural Kentucky.

NKU received $750,000 to help reduce opioid overdoses for those who come in contact with law enforcement or are involved in the criminal justice system. The Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Justice Institute and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research awarded the funds to NKU.

The grant will support Owen and Carroll counties through a six-month planning and 18-month implementation phase. Though the number of those with Opioid Use Disorder is starting to decrease throughout the Commonwealth, this population continues to increase in Carroll and Owen counties.

“This grant will enable us to initiate new activities and support existing initiatives to strengthen evidence-based community-level opioid overdose prevention activities, and enhance public safety, public health and behavioral health collaborations”, says Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHI executive director and vice president for Health Innovation.  “We are excited to continue our momentum to help people start and stay in recovery.”

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state and tribal law enforcement in achieving safer communities. The grant brings law enforcement, judicial, education and healthcare stakeholders together to complete needs assessments and strengthen their partnerships. Additional primary partners for the grant include Three Rivers District Health Department, Triad Health Systems, NorthKey Community Care, Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Owen County Emergency Medical Services and Carroll County Reentry Services.

IHI is working to address the many layers of health challenges in our communities. With the latest grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration and Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s RIS i6 Challenge, IHI has received $4.35 million of federal grant funding since its inception in 2018.

To learn more about BJA, visit www.bja.gov. BJA is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.