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EKU’s Training Resource Center (TRC) was recently awarded $280,000 through the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) via the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), to assist the state in a comprehensive targeted response to the opioid crisis.  

Funds will be used for the continuation and expansion of training programs designed to prepare those working on the front-lines of the epidemic, the DCBS workforce (child/adult protective services and family support) and foster parents, to effectively serve adults, families, and children affected by opioid use disorder (OUD) and substance use disorder (SUD).

TRC will use this year’s KORE funding to develop and deliver training for DCBS’ Division of Family Support staff as well as partner again with the College of Justice and Safety’s Dr. James Wells to administer a follow-up attitudes and beliefs survey to determine if changes in attitudes and beliefs occurred in the DCBS workforce since the implementation of the OUD/SUD training programs.

This past year, KORE monies were used to train more than 1,400 DCBS staff and foster parents on topics including Kentucky’s Opioid Crisis, Neurobiology of Addiction, Substance Use Disorder and Opioid Use Disorder, Stigma and Discrimination, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment, Recovery and Recovery Supports.

“The training DCBS staff and foster parents received as a result of the KORE funds provided an opportunity for staff to learn about the disease behind the addiction and how recovery is possible,” said  Crystal Barger, TRC Associate Director. “Getting to hear directly from someone who is in recovery was very enlightening and really emphasized the importance of being knowledgeable about the latest research and evidence-based practices in the prevention and treatment of OUD/SUD.”

This the second year EKU’S TRC has received KORE funding. The TRC received more than $400,000 in KORE funding last fiscal year to assess the training needs of the DCBS workforce, design curriculum and deliver training programs focused on improving staff knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for working with families affected by OUD/SUD.  

Funding was used to conduct statewide focus groups, administer a baseline OUD/SUD attitudes and beliefs survey of DCBS staff, develop and enhance existing training programs for DCBS’ Division of Protection & Permanency staff and foster parents and coordinate nine regional training events.

These activities were conducted in collaboration with EKU’s College of Justice and Safety, Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (DBHDID), and the University of Kentucky’s Center on Trauma and Children.

Training content was developed by subject matter experts including Dr. Allen Brenzel, M.D., Medical Director for DBHDID, Dr. William Lohr, M.D., Medical Director for DCBS, Amanda Foley, Ph.D., Treatment Implementation Specialist for KORE, Ginny Sprang, Ph.D., Executive Director of UK’s Center on Trauma and Children, and specialists with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.  Training participants also heard personal accounts of lived experience with OUD/SUD and recovery, and the positive impact DCBS had in that process.

Guided by the Recovery-Oriented System of Care Framework, the purpose of the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) is to implement a comprehensive targeted response to Kentucky’s opioid crisis by expanding access to a full continuum of high quality, evidence-based opioid prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services and supports in high-risk geographic regions of the state. For more information on Kentucky’s Opioid Response Effort, please visit

For more information on EKU’s Training Resource Center, please visit

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 20.3 million people in the United States over age 12 had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year.  An estimated 2 million people had an opioid use disorder (OUD).1  During 2017, Kentucky had 1,160 reported opioid-involved deaths, representing a rate of 27.9 deaths per 100,000 people which is much higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000.2

See a video about the opioid crisis here: