Mercer professors receive one million dollar grant to address opioid overdoses

Dr. Bryant Smalley and Dr. Jacob Warren received the grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Two Mercer University School of Medicine professors will use a one million dollar federal grant to help address opioid overdoses in rural North Georgia.

Dr. Bryant Smalley and Dr. Jacob Warren received the grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration for a prevention, treatment and recovery initiative within the North Georgia Opioid Prevention and Education Network (North Georgia OPEN).

According to a Mercer University news release, North Georgia Open is a multi-sector consortium focused on the prevention of opioid use disorder and opioid overdose in Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon and Polk counties.

“North Georgia OPEN is a community-driven initiative in one of the regions of Georgia most impacted by the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Smalley. “We are honored to work with all of these partners, from the local pharmacy to the judicial system, to collaboratively tackle this issue.”

The three-year initiative will be led by Dr. Smalley, associate dean for research in the School of Medicine, and Dr. Warren, director of the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities. The grant will help implement a number of awareness campaigns, provider trainings and community events to increase community knowledge about preventing overdose.

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Shelby Coates is an evening anchor/producer at 41NBC News. She anchors the 5, 5:30, and 6 evening newscasts. She also works behind the scenes producing the 5:00pm and managing newsroom assignments. She returns to 41NBC after working in Evansville, Indiana as the Morning/Noon Anchor and Executive Producer for WEVV. Shelby also spent time in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she spent three years anchoring and producing the weekend morning newscasts at WSPA-TV. She also worked as a general assignment reporter, receiving several honors for her investigative and consumer reporting. Shelby has spent time working as a news anchor/reporter in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Macon, Georgia; and Abilene, Texas. Shelby is a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. She graduated from Abilene Christian University in Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communication and a minor in sociology. Shelby has a passion for empowering local communities, church ministry, public speaking, strengthening women and mentoring young people.