CSU Prevention Research Center receives grant for opioid research

Jordan Mahaffey

Photo illustration of pain killer pills. (Abbie Parr | Collegian file photo)

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture gave Colorado State University’s Prevention Research Center in the department of human development and family studies an award of $350,000 to implement opioid misuse prevention programs.

According to an article by the North Colorado Health Alliance, “in 2019 alone, 612 lives were lost to opioid overdose. To date in 2020, there has been a 282% increase in the number of overdose deaths in Colorado alone.”

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According to the NIFA website, “NIFA promotes rural health and safety through national program leadership, funding for integrated research, education and extension activities and strategic partnerships and collaborations.”

CSU’s Prevention Research Center will be using the award from NIFA to continue opioid misuse prevention in Fort Collins. Nathaniel Riggs, the executive director of the Prevention Research Center, said the center established a project with three main goals that the funding will help with.

This grant will use funds to train prevention practitioners around the state of Colorado to implement programs that we know strengthen families and reduce youth opioid use. It will also use funds to develop a statewide team that supports local communities when implementing these proven programs.” –Nathaniel Riggs, executive director of the Prevention Research Center 

Riggs said that the project aims to “train prevention practitioners from around the state on how to implement the Strengthening Program,” as well as “establish a statewide management team to support local communities in implementing evidence-based substance use prevention programs and stream the Prevention Extension Cast, a prevention science web series.” 

According to the Larimer County website, “75% of people who are addicted to heroin in the U.S. began their addiction on prescription opioids. The opioid problem, which includes heroin, often starts with a legitimate prescription for pain.” For this reason, many opioid misuse programs, including the Larimer County website, are focused on educating people on the risks of opioid use and providing resources to safely dispose of opioids prescribed to them.

“Early prevention efforts are key to preventing opioid use before it begins,” Riggs said. “This grant will use funds to train prevention practitioners around the state of Colorado to implement programs that we know strengthen families and reduce youth opioid use. It will also use funds to develop a statewide team that supports local communities when implementing these proven programs.” 

“(The Prevention Research Center) was established in 2014 as a campus-wide, trans-disciplinary center committed to studying the development, implementation and evaluation of effective and sustainable intervention programs that promote individual and family health and wellness throughout the lifespan,” Riggs said. “The center programs also aim to reduce the risk for problems such as substance misuse, physical and mental health issues, violence and problems of aging.” 

The Prevention Research Center’s project “relies on strong partnerships with CSU Extension,” Riggs said. “Local Extension professionals, who are trusted sources of information, are key to rallying local support for the implementation of evidence-based drug use prevention efforts.”

Reach Jordan Mahaffey at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @_MahaffeyJordan.