Marshall receives grant for Substance Abuse Prevention

 

Marshall University has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant was given to provide substance abuse programs and training for students going into the healthcare field and similar programs.

The training will help to teach students ways of identifying those at risk of substance abuse.

Amy Saunders, director of Student Health Education programs, said she hopes the funding can go to training students how to screen for substance abuse and early prevention.

“We need to screen early on and make it routine,” Saunders said. “If they get access early on, it leads to a better outcome.”

Saunders said better infrastructure is needed for people with substance abuse problems, such as easier access to recovery centers, more access to social workers and more recovery coaches.

“We have a lot of folks on the ground, but we need more resources,” Saunders said.

The grant comes at a time when West Virginia has the highest overdose rate in the nation, at about twice the national average.

This epidemic got the attention of President Barrack Obama who visited West Virginia Wednesday to talk about high rate of addiction in the state.

Saunders said she attended Obama’s meeting and found it was very moving and emotional when people shared stories about how drug abuse affected their lives.

Saunders said the event highlighted hope and she hopes it can lead to more resources coming to West Virginia.

The grant will last for three years and will total around $315,000 each year. The program will benefit the schools of psychology, social work, counseling, public health, nursing and physical therapy, pharmacy and the school of medicine.

Marshall also has several community partners to assist with training, such as the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, Prestera, Recovery Point, HER Place, The Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy and the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership.

John Cole Glover can be contacted at [email protected]