Northeast Kentucky AHEC Receives $35,500 Grant From the Cardinal Health Foundation to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic


The Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) is pleased to announce it has received $35,500 from the Cardinal Health Foundation’s Generation Rx Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Education for Youth grant program.

This funding will create the Prescription Education for Appalachian Kentucky Students (PEAKS) project, which will deliver prescription drug misuse prevention information to approximately 500 high school and college students across northeastern Kentucky. The project will run through spring 2019.

The NE KY AHEC was one of more than 40 organizations across Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia to receive a prevention education grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation.
As part of Cardinal Health’s Opioid Action Program, the Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention Education for Youth grants are designed to expand medication safety education for thousands of students in K-12 schools and universities, using Generation Rx educational materials.

PEAKS will focus on seven counties within the NE KY AHEC’s service region: Boyd, Clark, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Powell, and Rowan. These counties were chosen because they rank near the top among northeastern Kentucky counties (and in most cases exceeded the state rate) for multiple drug-related measures, including: number of drug overdose deaths, drug overdose mortality rate, and drug arrests per 100,000 population, all during the years 2013-’15.

The NE KY AHEC will attempt to deliver prescription drug misuse prevention education via classroom presentations to high school students within the seven target counties. High school and college undergraduate participants in the NE KY AHEC’s health careers pipeline programs also will receive age-appropriate lessons related to prescription drug misuse prevention.

“The opioid crisis is widespread, but perhaps no state has been hit harder than Kentucky,” said David A. Gross, director of the NE KY AHEC. “This project will be crucial for local students, as research indicates people are most likely to begin abusing drugs during adolescence and young adulthood. We look forward to helping prevent future prescription drug misuse even while efforts are underway to battle the current opioid epidemic.”  

 PEAKS is one of several opioid-related projects the NE KY AHEC is working on. Thanks to a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the NE KY AHEC has been able to facilitate nearly 20 education activities focused on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorder to more than 500 health care providers and health professions students. A separate proposal, which is still under review, would establish a Northeast Kentucky Opioid Crisis Response Network through a partnership between the NE KY AHEC and four regional health care entities.

The NE KY AHEC is one of eight regional centers in Kentucky that have a mission of enhancing access to quality health care services in rural and medically underserved areas. Through their pipeline initiatives, regional AHECs strive to improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals via community and academic partnerships. The NE KY AHEC, hosted by St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, serves a 17-county region that includes Bath, Boyd, Carter, Clark, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lawrence, Lewis, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Powell, Robertson, and Rowan counties. For more information about the NE KY AHEC or any of its programs, visit

About Cardinal Health's Opioid Action Program
The Opioid Action Program is a multi-prong initiative to help communities in four of the nation’s hardest-hit states fight the opioid epidemic. Each element of the program is cited by leading experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) and the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, as critical to reducing opioid misuse, abuse, and addiction. The Opioid Action Program builds on Generation Rx, created through a partnership with the Cardinal Health Foundation and The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy to raise awareness and knowledge about the dangers of prescription drug misuse.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact KaLeigh Underwood
 at 606.783.6431 or via e-mail at

Back to News Listing