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Metro Tech Receives Grant to Address Opioid Crisis in Oklahoma City

Metro Tech Receives Grant to Address Opioid Crisis in Oklahoma City

This week, the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board awarded $11 million in grant awards to various entities across the state; $ 150K of these funds were awarded to Metro Tech. The district plans to implement several strategies to address the opioid crisis in Oklahoma City in the next fiscal year.

Metro Tech's district spans 144 square miles within Oklahoma County and serves a diverse population of high school and adult students identifying as minorities. Most Oklahoma County households have an income of less than $50,000.

"Our dedication to serving our community goes beyond providing career training; it extends to addressing the broader challenges our students and community face, such as the opioid crisis," Dr. Robyn Miller, Metro Tech's Director of Operations, said.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma County had 722 unintentional drug overdose deaths from 2017 to 2021. Also, within this period, Oklahoma County had the 17th highest nonfatal drug overdose hospitalization rate statewide, with teens and young adults aged 15-24 bearing the highest burden of hospitalizations.

"With over 20 feeder schools contributing to our diverse student population, we acknowledge the need for comprehensive intervention strategies to address substance abuse and promote wellness," Miller said.

Through a multi-tiered approach, Metro Tech's plan to combat the opioid crisis is tailored to the diverse needs of its student population and surrounding community. The plan is outlined with the following:

  • Identify and select 25 teachers across all campuses to undergo Mental Health First Aid certification training and coordinate with Developing Caring Communities Committed to Action (DCCCA) for program delivery.
  • Launch community education and awareness campaigns through messaging that aligns with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Install prescription medication disposal containers at all campuses and market availability to students, staff, and the community.
  • Facilitate Botvin LifeSkills Training to instruct counselors on substance abuse prevention methods for schools and empower them to collaborate with educators.
  • Conduct specialized training for peer-to-peer education on opioid abuse prevention.
  • Provide naloxone medication in every classroom and train instructors on naloxone administration.
  • Plan and execute activities and events focused on substance use prevention and mental health awareness by arranging keynote speakers, classroom activities, and educational video screenings.
  • Install vending machines that provide fentanyl test strips and naloxone in campus bathrooms, along with literature and resources on accessing help.
  • Provide telehealth services for students through BetterMynd and facilitate referrals to certified community mental health centers.

Metro Tech has engaged a diverse group of local stakeholders to participate in an Advisory Council to accomplish these initiatives. The collaborators include NorthCare, HOPE Community Services, the Oklahoma County Health Department, DCCCA, Inc., OU Health, the Emergency Medical Services Authority, the Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Tinker Air Force Sergeants Association, Millwood Public Schools, Crooked Oak Public Schools, and the Lynn Institute for Healthcare Research.

"With these resources and partnerships, Metro Tech is well-positioned to lead and implement initiatives to address the opioid crisis in Oklahoma County," Metro Tech Superintendent Aaron Collins said. "We are committed to creating a safer and healthier future for our students, staff, and community."

One of the largest and most diverse technology centers in Oklahoma, Metro Tech has four campuses offering short-term, career and customized business training options. Campuses are located in South Oklahoma. City, Northeast Oklahoma City, Downtown Oklahoma City and the Will Rogers Airport.