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UK using new approach to treat opioid addiction

Posted: 12:14 PM, Oct 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-01 18:58:08-04
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The University of Kentucky is working on a new approach to treating opioid addiction.

In July, UK was awarded an $8.8 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to establish a clinical research center to help treat addicts in jails. The center will focus on helping women.

"Women have some unique vulnerabilities associated with the opioid epidemic and opioid use disorder specifically,” said Michele Staton, an associate professor with the College of Medicine Department of Behavioral Science at UK.

Using telehealth services, community providers will talk with inmates at six jails across the state and deliver pre-treatment for medications used to treat addiction.

"What we have the opportunity to do here is really develop individualized and tailored treatment plans for women as they transition from jail to the community,” said Staton.

The women will also be able to see community providers once they're released.

The center will be led by team of experts from several UK colleges, who will partner with other groups, like the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

"I feel like we've been the epicenter for the opioid epidemic for a long time and now we have the responsibility of becoming one of the national leaders in terms of advancing treatment,” said Staton.

UK is still working to decide which six jails it will partner with. The team hopes to have the center up and running by January.