Home » Uncategorized » NBC News Reports on College of Education Opioid Study

NBC News Reports on College of Education Opioid Study


students on a research team stand in a semi circle with TV cameras focused on them and speak with NBC correspondent Kathy Park
Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins (far left) and members of her research team talk with NBC correspondent Kathy Park about their opioid research study.

NBC News NOW has put the work of a University of Kentucky College of Education research team in the national spotlight. NBC correspondent Kathy Park visited campus to tell the story of how Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins and her team are using a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to conduct one of the nation’s first studies on nonmedical prescription opioid use among Black Americans. The study will help fill a dire need for data on this underserved group.

Stevens-Watkins, a licensed psychologist, is a professor of counseling psychology in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology. She serves as UK’s Associate Vice President for Research, Diversity & Inclusion.

The NBC story aired May 10 on the streaming show Hallie Jackson Now on what was the nation’s first fentanyl overdose awareness day, taking place as overdose deaths in the U.S. are surging.

“At the University of Kentucky, a team of researchers is trying to take on this, head on,” Jackson said during her introduction of the news report. “Specifically, by going around, they want to hear from Black Americans and their struggles with drug use. It’s a demographic experts say can be hard to reach, partly because of lack of representation they see in the people researching them.”

Watch the full coverage online at https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/university-of-kentucky-researchers-aim-to-find-solutions-for-black-opioid-addicts-139729477972?fbclid=IwAR3f95AJXe9CetxyAf5rdImQ0pWqSuoFDPLMFo7W33qcv7pMWghvw5vSK5M

Dr. Danelle Stevens Watkins seated in a chair with TV cameras and lights pointed at her while she gives an interview to NBC News correspondent Kathy Park
Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins interviewed by NBC News correspondent Kathy Park on the University of Kentucky campus.

In addition to the opioid study, the lab members are also:

  • interviewing Black American women about breastfeeding messages and myths and training breastfeeding peer support counselors;
  • testing an evidence-based intervention for HIV prevention for Black American women in geographic hotspots in Kentucky and Georgia; and
  • training Black American community first responders in mental health first aid to improve mental health awareness, literacy, service initiation, and access.

The study featured on NBC News, “Research Examining Factors Associated with the Opioid Crisis among Under-served African Americans” is known as “REFOCUS.” To learn more about degrees and programs in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, visit https://education.uky.edu/edp/