SHU Receives $30K for Opioid & Stimulant Education, Awareness

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University has received a $30,000 grant through the Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative (CHCI) for its Campus Opioid and Stimulant Education and Awareness Program. 

The opioid education program derives from the Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, a facet of Wheeler Clinic, based in Plainville. Funding for CHCI comes from the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, made possible by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s State Opioid Response Grant. 

The healthy campus initiative was founded as a stepping stone toward creating and sustaining healthy college campuses and community environments, according to CHCI’s website. Its need is apparent in light of information such as a 2016 report from the International Narcotics Control Board, which found that the United States takes in 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. Further, a 2018 study by Ohio State University found that 15.9% of students surveyed had previously misused stimulants. 

The grant SHU received is intended to provide necessary resources to implement educational programs about opioids and stimulants, as well as awareness activities. Sacred Heart intends to provide such activities and more to its students, faculty and staff with Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work, and Jessica Samuolis, associate professor of psychology, as project directors.

Their plans include:

  • Preparing and implementing an alcohol and drug survey
  • Expanding, promoting and disseminating faculty curriculum materials
  • Conducting “Lunch and Learn” workshops for faculty and staff about stimulant and opioid misuse among college students
  • Introducing a medication-safety digital resource, Generation Rx, to undergraduate and graduate students
  • Collaborating with SHU’s department of public safety
  • Hosting virtual simulations for students to practice bystander skills
  • Hosting workshops for health professionals 

“These project activities will raise awareness, increase knowledge and reduce risk regarding opioid use and misuse of stimulants among college students,” said Osborne. “Project activities will focus on information dissemination, harm-reduction initiatives and the implementation of prevention programming here at SHU.”


About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 386 Colleges–2021 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best Business Schools–2021 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theatre. www.sacredheart.edu


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