Northeast KY AHEC Receives Grant to Help Address Opioid Epidemic



The Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) has received an $80,000 grant to provide a yearlong series of accredited educational activities focused on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of opioid use disorder.

With this funding, from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the NE KY AHEC will provide approximately 15 educational activities between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, with an emphasis on medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Targeted attendees include a diverse collection of health care providers and health professions students within the NE KY AHEC’s 17-county service region.

Plans call for the trainings to include information on: the latest clinical guidelines for pain management and opioid prescribing; how to identify and work with patients who have opioid addiction; managing the disease in the context of other health conditions; referring patients to appropriate community services; identifying patients at high risk of overdose; and emergency treatment of patients who have overdosed.

“Despite the national emergence of this issue, the Institute of Medicine has reported that half of primary care providers felt only ‘somewhat prepared’ to treat patients with pain,” said David A. Gross, director of the NE KY AHEC. “We’re committed to educating a wide variety of health care professionals on MAT best practices and other topics, with a goal of improving the quality of life for those affected by opioid use disorder.”

An example of such an educational activity is “The Power of Prescribing: Addiction Consequences of Opioid Rx,” which was accredited by the NE KY AHEC and held in Maysville on Jan. 26. Nearly 75 interprofessional health care providers attended such sessions as “The Disease of Addiction,” “The Opioid Epidemic: What Role Do I Play?,” and “Legal Considerations with Opiate Rx.” Due to the success of this activity, the NE KY AHEC sought funding to provide similar large-scale events in Ashland, Morehead, and Mt. Sterling, along with smaller events at the nine hospitals within northeastern Kentucky.

The project’s first activity is scheduled for Aug. 4, when the NE KY AHEC will collaborate with the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians on an all-day conference titled “A Family Physician’s Role in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic.”

The NE KY AHEC, hosted by St. Claire Regional Medical Center and based in Morehead, has a mission of enhancing access to quality health care within its 17-county service region, which includes Bath, Boyd, Carter, Clark, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Powell, Robertson, and Rowan counties.

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