UNH Receives Nearly a Million Dollars to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Thursday, August 13, 2020

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DURHAM, N.H.— The University of New Hampshire will lead an outreach effort to provide informational tools to help residents better manage chronic pain and avoid the pitfalls of addictive opioids. UNH Cooperative Extension was awarded a grant for close to a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide free online resources and in-person workshops to educate both chronic pain sufferers and health professionals about alternative pain management strategies and the proper use of prescription medications.

“New Hampshire has one of the highest drug-related death rates in the nation,” said Kendra Lewis, youth and family resiliency state specialist. “The opioid epidemic is not just an urban issue, it is a big concern in rural areas, which are highly concentrated with older adult residents dealing with pain on a daily basis. Our hope is to offer all residents confronted with chronic pain, and their healthcare providers, different pain management options.”

UNH CE will partner with the New Hampshire State Opioid Response Team to increase opportunities in rural communities to engage in prevention activities such as the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program (CPSMP), online education and skill building, and training for healthcare professionals on alternative pain management strategies and preventing opioid misuse in patient populations. The agencies will design and create educational videos, in-person and online workshops, interactive modules, fact sheets and other informational materials for a wide variety of audiences including youth, parents, seniors, teachers, community coalitions and healthcare professionals.

“This is a significant opportunity for UNH Cooperative Extension to help deliver, implement and strengthen vital resources for residents dealing with health issues and chronic pain,” said Ken La Valley, vice provost of outreach and engagement. “We’re proud to be able to offer such important research-based information to address the diverse needs of the people and communities of New Hampshire.”

The project is funded by SAMHSA Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Program. The information will be on the Partnership for a Drug Free N.H. website and shared by UNH’s Institute of Health Policy and Practice, N.H. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and Bureau of Elderly Adult Services, JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., and Southern N.H. Area Health Education Center.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation, and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.