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Following receipt of the Oklahoma Opioid Response Higher Education Community Outreach Grant, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO) College is partnering with the Quapaw Counseling Services to provide outreach and assistance to students. Under the partnership, Quapaw Counseling Services will visit classrooms throughout the 2019-2020 academic year and educate the student body on the threats of opioid abuse. They also spoke directly with campus resident assistants and provided education in the use of Narcan pouches, which can treat overdoses in emergencies. “We are very pleased to partner with NEO A&M College and to provide services to both students and employees for any substance abuse and mental health issues they may be experiencing,” said Leslie Bissell, Quapaw Counseling Services.  “The Quapaw Nation strives to provide quality services to both native and non-native alike in order to benefit not only the individual but the community as a whole.”

While opioid overdose deaths have been declining in Oklahoma since 2012, there were still nearly 400 deaths in 2017. There has also been a rise in Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which can ​occur when a woman uses prescription of non-prescription opioids during pregnancy. “Our main concern is that today’s young adults are unaware of the severity of opioid abuse and the repercussions that follow,” said grant coordinator and campus nurse Jennifer Osburn. “This grant provides the resources and expertise to increase education around opioids and decrease cases of misuse. It also allows us to build a quality relationship with community services.”

Along with on-campus education, the partnership provides students and employees access to comprehensive testing and treatment services, as well as one-on-one counseling and medically assisted treatment that utilizes culturally responsive practices in a state-of-the-art facility. Students or employees needing more information about the program or counseling services at NEO should contact Lori Kurtz, campus counselor at 918-540-6229, or Campus Nurse Jennifer Osburn at 918-540-6298. For 24-hour assistance, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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