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Maryland: UMD Awarded $1 Million Grant to Help Rural Maryland with Opioid Crisis

University of Maryland Extension (UME) and University of Maryland School of Public Health faculty and partners received a two-year, $1 million federal grant to help rural Maryland communities combat the opioid crisis.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and will involve training 120 educators in the evidence-based program, “Mental Health First Aid.” The curriculum will then be delivered to 500 community leaders across Maryland. 

Researchers will also collaborate with the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), MayaTech and Maryland Rural Health Association.

Professors Dr. Jinhee Kim and Dr. Ghaffar Ali Hurtado are co-principal investigators on the Rural Opioid Technical Assistance (ROTA) grant and say their goal is to strengthen the understanding of the epidemic and implement prevention strategies.

“One of the things we noted while conducting a needs assessment was gaps in understanding the opioid crisis and available resources to help or get information,” Dr. Kim, a family and consumer sciences program leader with the University of Maryland Extension, told Cumberland Times-News.

“Our study team will collaborate with local partners that have the expertise and are trusted in the community,” said Dr. Hurtado, an assistant professor of family science at the School of Public Health. 

The team will create both an advisory group and a virtual network comprised of UME educators, partners and local practitioners. 

Additionally, a proven prevention program, the Botvin LifeSkills curriculum, will be given to middle school children. Forty teachers will be trained in the program which is expected to teach 650 students about the dangers of substance abuse.

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