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College Receives $70,000 Grant to Prevent and Reduce Misuse of Opioids
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • January 8, 2020)—Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs today announced the award of an approximately $70,000 grant to Delaware County Community College to provide opioid prevention services as part of a statewide effort to reduce the use and misuse of opioids by college students.
“We consistently attack the state’s opioid crisis from all angles, and this grant will enable additional focus on an integral part of our work—prevention,” Governor Tom Wolf said in announcing the nearly $1 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grants provided by the state to 13 higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.
The grants are part of a $55.9 million SAMSHA grant secured by the Wolf administration to bolster the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. Awardees will expand existing preventive programs and collaborate with key local stakeholders to develop and implement new projects that may include raising campus awareness, reducing stigma, increasing access to overdose reversal trainings, and grief support.
Delaware County Community College was one of only three community colleges in Pennsylvania to receive a grant. In partnership with the Delaware County District Attorney, the Chester County District Attorney, the Delaware County Heroin Task Force and the Chester County Drug and Alcohol Services office, the College will utilize its grant to fund a variety of initiatives that will educate, inform and support students, faculty and staff about how to address the opioid epidemic in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Some of the initiatives envisioned include incorporating opioid misuse education into a College course in which students help research and develop informational brochures for fellow students to be shared at College-sponsored events, such as the College’s annual Health Fair and Wellness Day. The College also plans to host a panel discussion featuring law enforcement and addiction recovery specialists who will discuss the impact of opioid addiction on individuals, families and the community.
In addition, the College plans to schedule free screenings of films about drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, sponsor a College-wide speaker presentation on the issue of opioid misuse, as well as purchase Naloxone (a.k.a. NARCAN®) and train volunteer faculty, staff and students how to administer the life-saving drug to individuals who have overdosed.
The College is well positioned to utilize the state grant to build on already existing programs. The College’s Safety and Security Department officers are trained in how to address individuals who overdose or who exhibit active drug use. Last year, the College partnered with the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, which donated NARCAN® nasal spray kits to be used, if needed, at the College’s three locations in Delaware County. The kits are stored in Automated External Defibrillator (AED) cabinets. The College also is placing NARCAN® kits in AED cabinets at its Chester County locations.
The emphasis on opioid prevention and misuse education also aligns with many of the College’s existing educational and training programs, such as Nursing, Allied Health, Psychology, Paralegal Studies, Paramedic training and Municipal Police Officer training.