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Federal Grant Creates NKU’s Rural Responses to the Opioid Epidemic Program


Feb. 7, 2020— Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) announces a new federal grant funded program to continue addressing the opioid epidemic in rural Kentucky.

NKU received $750,000 to help reduce opioid overdoses for those who come in contact with law enforcement or are involved in the criminal justice system. The Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Justice Institute and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research awarded the funds to NKU. 

The grant will support Owen and Carroll counties through a six-month planning and 18-month implementation phase. Though the number of those with Opioid Use Disorder is starting to decrease throughout the Commonwealth, this population continues to increase in Carroll and Owen counties.

“This grant will enable us to initiate new activities and support existing initiatives to strengthen evidence-based community-level opioid overdose prevention activities, and enhance public safety, public health and behavioral health collaborations”, says Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHI executive director and vice president for Health Innovation.  “We are excited to continue our momentum to help people start and stay in recovery.”

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy development to support local, state and tribal law enforcement in achieving safer communities. The grant brings law enforcement, judicial, education and healthcare stakeholders together to complete needs assessments and strengthen their partnerships. Additional primary partners for the grant include Three Rivers District Health Department, Triad Health Systems, NorthKey Community Care, Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, Owen County Emergency Medical Services and Carroll County Reentry Services.  

IHI is working to address the many layers of health challenges in our communities. With the latest grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration and Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s RIS i6 Challenge, IHI has received $4.35 million of federal grant funding since its inception in 2018.

To learn more about BJA, visit BJA is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

About Institute for Intergovernmental Research: The Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) serves as the COAP Network coordinator for training and technical assistance (TTA) efforts and collaborates with Bureau of Justice Assistance leadership and fellow TTA providers to support COAP site-based grantees. IIR's role includes publication production and design; planning, coordination, and delivery of national-level trainings and working group meetings; COAP Resource Center website development and maintenance; coordination of distance learning opportunities and resource dissemination; and coordination of other complementary activities.

About State Justice Institute: The State Justice Institute (SJI) awards grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts, and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts.

About IHI: The Institute for Health Innovation at Northern Kentucky University was established in 2018 to encompass teaching, research, outreach, advocacy, and policy initiatives around population health. It drives change that directly addresses urgent unmet health needs.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit