The Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs recently awarded nearly $1 million in state grants to 13 higher education institutions for the prevention and reduction of opioid use among college students and for naloxone training on campus.
Penn State Berks received a portion of the funding to create an awareness and educational campaign on opioid addiction.
“Addiction is a brain disease, but it still carries a lot of stigma,” Dr. Jennifer Murphy, associate professor of criminal justice, said. “Many people do not understand how addiction works; they see it as a moral flaw. We hope to educate students at Penn State Berks about the reality of addiction and how naloxone can save lives.”
Murphy and Dr. Brenda Russell, professor of applied psychology, have been working on the awareness campaign for a year and applied for the funding.
As part of the campaign, the researchers will survey police officers to determine their addiction knowledge level and assess the stigma they hold toward people who use drugs. The information will identify characteristics that contribute to addiction knowledge and stigma and identify the need for an educational/intervention tool.
The campaign runs through the end of October.