SU's New AmeriCorps Initiative: HOPECorps
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University is joining the battle against heroin and opioid addiction with a new AmeriCorps initiative: HOPECorps (Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education).
The program, separate from SU’s longstanding ShoreCorps AmeriCorps initiative, is made possible through a $53,000 federal grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. It funds 11 new AmeriCorps members to focus on opioid addiction education and prevention efforts.
“For 22 years Salisbury University has hosted ShoreCorps to strengthen communities and improve the quality of life on the Eastern Shore. Adding the HOPECorps program will expand this important work and, we believe, help save lives,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach.
SU’s Social Work Department will administer the new program, overseen by Dr. Aaron Willis, assistant professor of social work. Officials with ShoreCorps, administered through SU’s Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE), will provide mentorship for the program.
Partnering with area health departments, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and nonprofit agencies throughout the Shore, HOPECorps plans to provide health education programming to over 1,000 local community members.
Last year, Maryland saw some 1,800 heroin and opioid overdose deaths, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — over three times the number killed in traffic accidents.
“Once we get those deaths down, then we can start talking about treatment and other options on what to do and how we will move forward,” said Willis.
Through the grant, some 50 volunteers also will be recruited to expand trainings in administering naloxone, a life-saving treatment that can reverse the immediate effects of opioid overdoses, and increase awareness of regional drug treatment services.
For more information call 410-543-6137 or visit the SU website at www.salisbury.edu.