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USDA grant will help MU researchers address opioid epidemic in rural Missouri

Oct. 25, 2023

Childhood trauma is a key risk factor for future substance use disorder, overdose, and suicide. This is particularly problematic in rural areas where children experience higher rates of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs are commonly defined as physical and emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, parental separation or divorce, intimate partner violence, and having household members with serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or a history of incarceration.

A three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant awarded to the University of Missouri will help virtually train various members of the workforce — such as health care providers, mental health and behavioral health providers, social workers, childcare providers and dentists — who serve individuals and families affected by ACEs in five high-risk rural Missouri counties with the ultimate goal of reducing opioid overdoses and suicides.

The five Missouri counties involved are Dent, Washington, Crawford, St. Francois and Phelps, all of which ranked among the highest in Missouri for drug overdose mortality rates in 2021. Julie Kapp, an associate professor with the Department of Public Health and primary investigator for the grant, developed the online training module.

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Julie Kapp

Julie M. Kapp

Associate Professor