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NEKY AHEC receives grant for opioid abuse and treatment


The Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) is pleased to announce it has received a $100,000 grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Through this year-long (Aug. 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019) project, the NE KY AHEC will work to establish a regional Opioid Crisis Response Network in collaboration with St. Claire HealthCare, Pathways Inc., Sterling Health Solutions, and the Gateway District Health Department.

This network will meet regularly to develop a plan to address opioid use disorder and provide substance abuse treatment within St. Claire HealthCare’s 11-county service region, which includes Bath, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Lewis, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Rowan, and Wolfe counties.

As part of this HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning grant project, the member organizations will discuss the scope of the problem and potential solutions – and then will determine which one or two ideas are the best and most feasible for northeastern Kentucky.

At the time of application, five topics were listed as options for further analysis: increasing opioid-related continuing education opportunities for medical providers; advocating for additional syringe exchange programs in the service region; assessing the feasibility of establishing a long-term detoxification unit or a women’s rehabilitation facility; and increasing the number of health care professionals who are able to provide medication-assisted treatment. However, more possibilities could be discussed based on the needs of the region and the ideas brought forth by network participants.

After the network agrees on one or two project ideas to pursue, the members may consider applying for additional grant funding to carry out the plan it develops over the coming months.

“Due to the scope of the opioid epidemic, no single organization can hope to solve it alone,” said David A. Gross, administrative director for education and research with St. Claire HealthCare, which hosts the NE KY AHEC. “But by bringing together a regional medical center, a district health department, a clinic system, and a behavioral health entity, I am confident we will come up with ideas that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on the epidemic within northeastern Kentucky.” 

The NE KY AHEC is one of eight regional centers in Kentucky that have a mission of enhancing access to quality health care services in rural and medically underserved areas. Through their pipeline initiatives, regional AHECs strive to improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals via community and academic partnerships.

The NE KY AHEC, hosted by St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, serves a 17-county region that includes Bath, Boyd, Carter, Clark, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Powell, Robertson, and Rowan counties.

For more information about the NE KY AHEC or any of its programs, visit http://www.neahec.org

(provided by Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center)

Paul Hitchcock earned his Masters in Communications from Morehead State University and Bachelors in Radio-TV/Psychology from Georgetown College. A veteran broadcaster for more than 40 years and an avid fan of blues, jazz and American roots music. Hitchcock has been with WMKY since 1986 and was named General Manager in 2003. He currently hosts "Muddy Bottom Blues" (Fri., 8pm-9pm), "Nothin' But The Blues" (Sat., 8pm-12am), "Sunday Night Jazz Showcase" and "Live From The Jazz Lounge" (Sun., 8pm-9pm) and "The Golden Age of Radio" (Sun., 2pm-3pm). He also serves as producer for "A Time For Tales" and "The Reader's Notebook."
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