by Allie Smith

The University of West Georgia’s College of Education recently received a $105,039 grant from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Office to implement the College Adopt a School Program. 

UWG students at Central High SchoolThe goal is for the university to partner with a local high school and implement a plan to help prevent the use and abuse of opioids and drugs. This program approaches this issue through bringing awareness to mental health issues among students and providing tools for students who face these issues.

Dr. Duke Biber, assistant professor of health and community wellness, serves as principal investigator (PI) of the project. Along with co-PIs Gina Brandenburg and Bridgette Stewart, the team assists COE students in mentoring students at Central High School

“This experience has been a great chance to equip our students with mentor abilities and experience,” Biber said. “They are going into the schools, planning and implementing the program on their own.”   

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, prescription drug misuse, including opioids, is among the fastest growing drug problems in the United States.

Through implementing the Sources of Strength program, COE students are assisting Central High students in helping their peers identify areas of support when they are in need and facing situations involving mental health and drug use.

Biber said he feels his involvement in this program has enhanced his role as a professor.

“My goal is to mentor students and help them find their purpose and passion,” he concluded, “Through this program, I am mentoring our students so they can mentor others.”  

Posted on June 18, 2020