The University of Alabama at Birmingham will be helping people in rural and underserved communities with substance abuse issues after being awarded with a $2.8 million grant. The grant will be distributed throughout a 4 year time-span.
The grant was awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. It will aid 16 primary care nurse practitioners every year who are interested in careers in the mental health and substance use areas.
People who struggle with substance abuse tend to search for help in primary care offices. Nurse practitioners who work in those settings will be trained to learn how to screen, treat and refer those individuals.
The nurses will have training in “opioid use disorder prevention, identification, and treatment” according to the associate dean for graduate clinical programs, Ashley Hodges.
Nurses are typically trained to ask about a patient’s illegal substance use and prescription drug misuse. Any other treatment is done by a mental health and substance abuse professional.
This grant is going to move training that is typically left to other professionals, to the primary care settings where most patients are seen anyways.
Students will learn:
· Multiple screening tools
· Referral options
· Treatment Options
UAB has two academic practice partnerships with Beacon Recovery and Alethia House, and East Central Mental Health Center. UAB is also recruiting students from Tuskegee University School or Nursing for their Masters of Science in Nursing program.
Nurse Practitioners are going to finally be able to help Alabama’s most underserved communities during the opioid epidemic. This is a major move on the road to controlling this nationwide issue, one state at a time.