Universities Will Study Rural Appalachian Opioid Abuse

(July 9, 2019)

Appalachian-area universities will begin studying opioid abuse in nearby rural areas, thanks to a new federal grant. WITF reports that researchers will begin in-depth research of opioid use because of $5.8 million from the National Institutes of Health. Three scientists from nearby universities will partner to conduct the study: Dr. Jane Liebschultz from Pitt, Dr. Judith Feinberg from West Virginia University, and Dr. Sarah Kawasaki from Penn State. The team will examine patterns of opioid use and treatment in the rural areas that haven’t given much data before. Once the project begins, it will gather data from opioid treatment centers, emergency rooms, and jails.

Because the Appalachian region is badly afflicted by opioid abuse and overdoses, learning more about those suffering from opioids is key for public response. “[It’s] pretty important to know what’s going to work in West Virginia,” said Liebschultz. “We need to have local solutions and make sure that the national ideas fit with our local setting.”

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