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University of Missouri addresses opioid crisis in rural areas

The University of Missouri is addressing the opioid crisis in rural communities. An internship program will train psychology doctoral students in underserved areas affected by the opioid epidemic.

“Rural communities struggle because access is a serious issue,” said Laura Schopp, professor and chair of the Department of Health Psychology.

She said students will work in clinics that offer assessment and treatment of chronic health conditions associated with opioid use disorder.

“There’s so many challenges and so many needs,” she said. “We must increase the number of providers who are proficient in dealing with opioid use disorder statewide.”

Psychology intern John Lace said the program allows the university to hire additional trainees “to be boots on the ground,” and help address psychological and medical health care needs.

The program will offer patient pain management methods outside of opioids.

“We know that 29% of people who receive a prescription for an opioid, a pain medication, end up taking it not as prescribed,” Schopp said. “We also know that 80% of people who become addicted to opioids started out using prescription opioids.”

Schopp said the opioid epidemic isn’t improving and is costing the country billions of dollars.

“The CDC estimate the opioid crisis costs over $78 billion a year in health, productivity, treatment, legal costs each year,” she said.

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Copyright 2019 KMIZ

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