Boost for UMass nursing students’ addiction training

For the Gazette
Published: 7/19/2016 2:17:04 AM

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing has received an $870,000 federal grant to help train its student nurses to recognize the signs of substance abuse and refer patients to treatment.

The grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services will support student nurses learning the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment. It is one of 12  be awarded across the country.

The technique involves short interviews to assess a person’s risk of substance abuse or current addiction, then briefly intervening or referring anyone deemed a high risk to treatment services.

The technique will be built into the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s curriculum and integrated into psychiatric and mental health, pediatric/young adult and community medicine courses this fall.

Students will get the chance to apply the method in the field through the university’s partnership with the Western Massachusetts Public Health Training Center, the Center for Health Promotion, the University Health Services and Springfield’s public schools.

Five hundred students are expected to receive the training over three years.

With the passage of Massachusetts’ new painkiller abuse prevention legislation earlier this year, schools will now be required to implement the technique.

Locally, Greenfield and Orange have been among 10 schools in the state that have already implemented the program.


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