North Shore Community College (NSCC) is the only recipient of funding from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in the New England region to combat the opioid crisis. The college was awarded $640,000, out of the more than $12 million given to 16 institutions nationwide, to enhance community-based training for students preparing to become behavioral health paraprofessionals focused on opioid and other substance use disorders.
Lynn has one of the highest risk rates for drug overdoses in the region, and funding was prioritized for programs that specialize in training paraprofessionals in the provision of addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services in high need and high demand areas. A special focus of the training will be on the specific concerns of children, adolescents, and transitional-age youth.
In addition to funding students in the Addiction Counseling Certificate program, students in Community Health Worker, Child/Youth Advocacy, and Recovery Coach training pathways will receive enhanced addiction-related training. Students selected for support will also participate in field placement opportunities designed to launch them into their respective careers.
“NSCC has been offering addiction related coursework since 1976, but never has it been more critical to ensure that students in all our human service disciplines have addiction-specific training,” said Steve Chisholm, NSCC’s Addiction Program Coordinator, Professor, and Project Director. “This is a huge boon for both our community and students; we will train 140 new students over the course of the three-year project.”
"NSCC is grateful to have received this award to help combat the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth,” said NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile. “Bringing our expertise in educating and training paraprofessionals for the front line workforce will add great value to the fight to prevent the spread of addiction, as well as treat and help our neighbors recover from substance abuse."
NSCC plans to partner and recruit students from community-based organizations, such as Lynn Community Health Center, Beth Israel Lahey Health’s Behavioral Health Division, Bridgewell, and Eliot Community Human Services, all of whom provided letters of support for the program.