School of Nursing gets millions to fight opioid overdoses

Dr. Lisa Cleveland from the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing.

The UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing has received $17.5 million to expand statewide its work of training and providing naloxone to save lives threatened by opioid overdose. The program began in Bexar County in 2018 with $1.875 in funding. The total funding is now $19.375 million.

These grant dollars from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will go toward the School of Nursing’s Overdose Prevention Education and Naloxone Distribution program. This program provides training to first responders on the use of Narcan, a naloxone nasal spray that reverses opioid overdose. Lisa Cleveland, Ph.D., RN, and her team are collaborating with and supported by many Texas communities, particularly Bexar County and the City of San Antonio, and will train organizations and individuals and distribute Narcan. As part of this grant, Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative (TONI) from Austin will conduct trainings all year throughout the state.

Using the “train-the-trainer” model, more than 700 individuals from over 70 organizations have been trained. Many have used Narcan to save lives. Replacement Narcan is available to groups trained by this program.

These grant dollars are also being used to expand a program that deploys the San Antonio Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Health Unit that follows up with overdose survivors to connect them with recovery support services.

“We are excited and proud to implement these important programs for the state of Texas. Our team has become a leader in this work, and we appreciate that HHSC trusts us to administer these programs. Those who participate can save lives,” said Dr. Cleveland, associate professor of nursing.

“Dr. Cleveland and her team are doing exactly what we teach every day in our School of Nursing, and that is that nurses should be at the forefront of public health ensuring the safety and wellness of individuals in our communities.” said Cindy Sickora, D.N.P., RN, vice dean of practice and engagement in the School of Nursing.

Community organizations, recovery centers, health care workers and individuals protecting family members with substance use disorder can receive training and free Narcan. Narcan normally costs $150 per unit. Visit to see the training schedule, sign up for training, request training or Narcan, and participate in this program.

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