Columbia receives award for piloting Opioid Education and Naloxone Training on College Campuses

Rachel Shelton, ScD, MPH, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences, and Lisa Rosen-Metsch, PhD, dean of Columbia University's School of General Studies, received a planning grant award to focus on piloting Opioid Education and Naloxone Training on College Campuses. The three-month planning grant was awarded in January 2019 through the Irving Institute CTSA at Columbia University Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Pilot Research Awards (CaMPR). The co-principal investigators will collaborate with a multi-disciplinary research group including Columbia Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and other investigators across the Columbia campus, to establish a platform for disseminating and implementing innovative evidence-based practices and programs that address the opioid epidemic and provide naloxone training nationally.

The use of opioids among college students has been recognized as a critical area where implementation of evidence-based public health strategies is needed, and naloxone training and opioid education is becoming a central training competency for law enforcement and emergency medical personnel. This planning grant will be an important first step in bringing together new and novel collaborations and expertise in informing this research.

"College campuses are an important, yet understudied and underutilized context for opioid education and naloxone training," said Shelton. "Universities nationally have differed in their response to naloxone on who should be trained and what protocols are established in reacting to an overdose. Research is needed to determine the acceptability, feasibility, adoption, and implementation of opioid awareness education and naloxone training programs on college campuses."

A social and behavioral scientist with expertise in implementation science, Shelton's research focuses on understanding how social and contextual factors contribute to health disparities, and factors that influence the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based programs and practices in real-world clinical and community settings.

Rosen-Metsch, inaugural Stephen Smith Professor and former chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School, is now Dean of the School of General Studies on Columbia's Morningside campus. An internationally-recognized leader in the prevention of HIV among populations with substance abuse disorders, she was one of the first researchers in the era of antiretroviral therapy to articulate the importance of creating prevention/primary care programs for people living with HIV.

The work being conducted as part of this research also supports an important component of the Columbia-JED strategic plan, charged with ensuring that substance use policies and protocols support the student community. Prevention measures, including training for first responders and members of the community to respond to substance use, are a key action item in this plan.

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