MIAMI, Okla. — Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College has received grants totaling nearly $70,000 to help prevent the spread of opioid abuse in the state.

The State Opioid Response Higher Education Community Outreach Grant, a little more than $54,000, will be used to develop a communication and outreach program to train students, faculty and staff in culturally responsive approaches to identifying and treating opioid abuse.

The grant will provide funding for a project coordinator, a licensed professional counselor, a graduate counseling practicum student and student assistants to counsel those struggling with drug abuse and their families, NEO officials said. It also will provide for drug deactivation and disposal programs.

Oklahoma is second in the nation for opioid prescription rates among states that provided data to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More than 88 people per every 100 were prescribed an opioid in 2017, leading to 10 opioid-involved overdose deaths for every 100,000 people, according to the institute.

"NEO remains committed to the overall well-being of our faculty, staff and students and is eager to work with our partners to address the challenges associated with opioid abuse," President Jeff Hale said in a statement.

A Health Resource and Service Administration grant of more than $15,000 was awarded through a collaboration that focuses on opioid abuse specifically in native communities. The Indian Health Service shows that Native Americans have the second-highest overdose death rate among racial and ethnic groups in the nation.

Through the grant, NEO will serve as part of the ImPACT Consortium with Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, to address opioid abuse, said Linda Sue Warner, special native counsel to the NEO president.

"This grant, along with the state award, positions NEO to take an active leadership role in research and planning on health disparities in Ottawa County," she said.

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