WEST LAFAYETTE - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has awarded a $320,000 grant to Purdue University. The funding will support the implementation of an outreach program aimed at helping people identify and deal with substance abuse disorders and mental health issues, with a focus on opioids.

The funding comes from the administration's Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Grants program. Purdue Extension Assistant Program Leader Stephanie Woodcox will oversee and implement the outreach program, known as the Multistate Opioid Use Disorder Training and Education Project.

"Opioids are a concern in communities across the state. Opioid use disorder is a disease, but there is treatment and recovery is possible," Woodcox said. "This funding allows us to implement a program to educate those directly impacted as well as families, communities, health practitioners and the general public. Awareness and education are critical steps in being able to address the issue of opioids and provide help to someone who may be in crisis or in need of resources."

The two-year program will target populations in Indiana, Michigan and South Dakota and Woodcox will be partnering with Extension professionals at Michigan State University and South Dakota State University. Woodcox expects to reach about 4,400 individuals, families and health practitioners during the course of the program.

Some of the plans for the programs first year in Indiana include:

  • Expanding Extension's delivery of Mental Health First Aid.
  • Expanding the existing "Combating Opioids" webinar series, hosted in partnership with Michigan State University. Previous webinars are archived on Purdue Extension's opioid information website at extension.purdue.edu/opioids.
  • Creating online training opportunities to teach individuals, families, communities and healthcare providers about opioid misuse and opioid use disorder.
  • Providing easily understandable and accessible information on opioid misuse and opioid use disorder to all 92 Indiana. 

The grant will support the first year of the project, with a second year of funding expected to continue the efforts.