MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Two online nursing courses are returning to West Virginia University as part of a response to combat the opioid epidemic that continues to plague the state.

The courses seek to give nurses a point of reference when treating patients with substance use disorder (SUD). Clinical Associate Professor Dr. Kendra Barker recorded some of the modules herself and said the program is designed to be “for nurses, by nurses.”

“These were put together as part of the State Opioid Response grant, or the SOR grant. And it was funded through that in response to the serious drug overdose death rate that we have in West Virginia that is the highest rate in the country. We’re losing more people per capita than any other state to drug overdose deaths,” Barker said.

Barker emphasized that when patients are relapsing and going into treatment, it’s not a sign of failure, but of strength.

“We have to have patients alive to treat them. If they don’t come into treatment, they could overdose and die. So it’s very important to get them into treatment.”

The self-paced classes will focus on Office-Based Medication Assisted Treatment (OBMAT) and Nursing Competencies in Addiction Care. Participants who complete the courses will receive 29 hours of nursing continuing professional development credit, including 8 hours of pharmacology credit.

Each course will cost $50 dollars and will cover the cost of any materials needed for the course. To register for the courses, you can visit the Addiction Nursing Care page here.