C2C receives competitive grant to help address opioid crisis

C2C receives competitive grant to help address opioid crisis

SARS-CoV-2 readily infects human intestinal cells in a laboratory model The grant funds crisis response where direct human contact at these touchpoints will be possible. Key partners in that fight are the HOPE Initiative, Bradley Free Clinic, and the Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition (VHRC). Both HOPE and the VHRC will provide peer counselors who understand the lived experience and challenges of at-risk individuals and can recognize when they are most motivated to pursue recovery and treatment. Carilion Clinic Emergency Department, Roanoke City EMS, and Western Regional Jail will also distribute 300 C2C assistive backpack kits when direct contact occurs. Dunkenberger noted that the backpacks are a way to physically connect with a vulnerable, hard-to-reach population. In addition to providing life-saving medication at the most crucial point -- 70 percent of overdoses are reversed by a peer who is present -- she said the backpacks communicate a crucial message to the recipient: "We want you to survive, and we want to connect you to services." Prototypes of the backpacks, stocked with Naloxone, basic living supplies, and durable referral information cards, were produced by College of Architecture and Urban Studies students with guidance by industrial design program chair Akshay Sharma and Assistant Professor Elham Morshedzadeh. Designed particularly for at-risk individuals who are housing insecure, the grant will also support backpack distribution by peer recovery specialists. Although the project team will initially rely on standard off-the-shelf backpacks, C2C hopes to obtain additional funding to manufacture and broadly field test the prototypes. Ultimately, researchers will evaluate the success of this particular intervention in saving lives. "Connection 2 Care is a stellar example of what can happen as a result of people getting out of their silos and working together in innovative ways," said Horn. "We hope this pilot study will give us information that can be used to increase referrals for people at risk and achieve harm reduction, at a minimum. It may also inform area-wide infrastructure changes that improve the often fragmented pathways to treatment." Dunkenberger also noted the grant's focus on long-term success strategies and the creation of sustainable processes. "We hope the C2C pilot will establish an enduring way to connect those most at risk of overdose to harm reduction and treatment services," she said. "Coupling the applied intervention with robust outcome and process evaluation enables sustainability and ongoing innovation." In addition to Horn's contribution as the lead evaluator, the Center for Public Health Practice and Research, housed in the Department of Population Health Sciences within the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, is also represented by Director Kathy Hosig and Associate Director Sophie Wenzel, both of whom also serve as co-principal investigators on the project. Other university partners include the Center for Biostatistics and Health Data Science in the College of Science, represented by director Alexandra Hanlon. Source:



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