ETSU scholars get $2.2M for drug abuse prevention

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) -- East Tennessee State University has received a more-than-$2.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to launch a research program aimed at battling prescription drug abuse.

According to the school, a team of researchers will study whether improving communication among health care providers, pharmacists and patients can reduce the illicit use of prescription drugs. They will also study how prepared health care providers are to intervene where substance abuse is suspected. And the researchers will calculate whether programs like drug take-backs and drug donation boxes make a difference.

Dr. Robert Pack is the principal investigator on the grant. He said the initiative is especially relevant for East Tennessee because the Southern Appalachia region sees disproportionately high levels of prescription drug abuse.

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