UNMC Receives Grant to Support Rural Communities Affected by the Opioid Epidemic

Oct. 7, 2020, 4:37 p.m. ·

Dr. Brent Khan is the co-director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. (Photo Courtesy University of Nebraska Medical Center)

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) has been awarded a $200,000 grant to support behavioral health resources in five rural Nebraska counties.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Resources Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the multi-year Rural Communities Opioid Response Program grant.

Dr. Brent Khan is the co-director of BHECN at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and said the grant will address the barriers to behavioral health access in Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, and Thayer counties.

“There are no buprenorphine providers who help deal with these issues, and also, the use of Naloxone is much higher in those areas," Khan said. "So you have a large geographic area, and you have people with different socio economic levels and different access to insurance.”

Dr. Khan says there are higher levels of opioid usage, specifically by adolescents, in rural Nebraska. The grant will help them build a strategic plan to implement prevention, treatment, and recovery in underserved rural areas.