URI First Responder program receives $1.3M federal grant to help prevent overdoses

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND College of Pharmacy’s Community First Responder Program has expanded to become the Northeast Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional Center to support overdose response training. URI College of Pharmacy clinical associate professor Anita Jacobson, left, and pharmacy doctorate candidate Emily Lancor distribute Narcan at a community site in Richmond. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy’s Community First Responder Program has now expanded to become the Northeast Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Regional Center to support overdose response training.

The new center is being financed by a $1.3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The federal program, URI said, allows the first responder program to expand into a regional hub by adding institutions around New England.

The university said the Husson University School of Pharmacy, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, University of Vermont Cooperative Extension and Western New England University School of Pharmacy will join URI in training members of the public to recognize an opioid overdose and use Narcan to stop one.

This expansion comes after URI’s first responder program has offered free naloxone and educational training seminars throughout Rhode Island, as well as distributed thousands of naloxone kits, over the last three years, including 26,000 Narcan kits in 2022 alone. More than $4 million has been garnered to support the program in that time, URI said.

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James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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