NSU MD Opioid Initiative

Click the video to learn more about our youth opioid project.

According to the National Institute of Health, in 2020 almost 20% of teenagers ages 11-18 have admitted to trying an illicit drug. These statistics vary throughout the nation and can be exacerbated by circumstances of community, family, and society. The opioid epidemic is a multifaceted problem, but one of the strongest tools in the fight against the epidemic is the early prevention of opioid use. The Florida Blue Foundation awarded the Department of Population Health Science at the NSU Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine (NSU MD) a four-year grant to improve awareness and prevention of opioid and substance abuse in at-risk youth in South Florida.

In order to create a targeted prevention program that considers the unique risk and protective factors of South Florida Youth, NSU MD founded the South Florida Community Coalition (SFCC) for the Prevention of Opioids and Substance Abuse in At-Risk Youth. This community coalition targets youth in the uniquely diverse South Florida tri-county region of Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties. The coalition is led by the Nova Southeastern University College of Allopathic Medicine in collaboration with the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. The coalition is collaborating with the following community partners across the tri-state region: Take Stock in Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Urban League, Pace Center for Girls, and SunServe, improving the awareness and behaviors of at-risk youth, with a focus on those who identify as ethnic and gender/sexual minorities.

If you would like to learn more about the motivation for this project, please read our editorial in the HCA Healthcare Journal of Medicine:  https://scholarlycommons.hcahealthcare.com/hcahealthcarejournal/vol2/iss2/1/

NSU MD Project Team

Julie Anne Jacko, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

François Sainfort, Ph.D.



Arkene S. Levy, Ph.D.


Michael Parker, Ph.D.


Timothy Page, Ph.D.



Peyton Buettner

Project Coordinator

Saad Masud

Medical Student Researcher

Luiza Palmieri Serrano

Medical Student Researcher

Solina Pierre

Medical Student Researcher

Cathaerina Appadoo

Medical Student Researcher

Website links