Grant makes Clarion opioid certificate more attainable for workers/trainees

March 27, 2018

Clarion University has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Appalachian Regional Commission for its Opioid Treatment Specialist Certificate Tuition Assistance Project. The project total of $100,000 includes a $30,000 match by Clarion University and a $20,000 match by Northwest Pennsylvania AIDS Alliance, which will additionally provide instructional training and support.

"From the start of the Opioid Treatment Specialist program last summer, we have received many inquiries from people who required some financial help to participate," said Dr. Ray Feroz, chair of Clarion's Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences and director of the project. "This grant from the ARC, along with our own local financial support from Clarion University and the Northwest Pennsylvania AIDS Alliance, will enable persons to enroll in courses who otherwise would not have been able to do so. This will boost the quality of treatment available in northwest Pennsylvania."

The Opioid Treatment Specialist Certificate, offered online by rehabilitation sciences and nursing department faculty, provides advanced information on opioid abuse and its prevention, education and treatment. Opioids (prescription drugs and heroin) are responsible for about two-thirds of all drug overdoses annually, at a rate of 91 Americans daily. Pennsylvania ranked fourth nationally for opioid-related deaths in 2015.

The tuition assistance will benefit a minimum of 30 workers/trainees in Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. Scholarships will be awarded for courses in the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters and will not extend beyond the grant end date of June 30, 2019. The seven-week course format allows certification within two semesters, costing $4,600.
The online nature of the program allows frontline professionals to gain their Opioid Treatment Specialist Certificate where they live and work, providing access to the entire Appalachian region, much of which is rural.
Clarion University has been providing higher education for 150 years, including 50 years of certificate education, 25 years of a substance addiction concentration and 20 years of online education.

For information about the Opioid Treatment Specialist Certificate or the Tuition Assistance Project, contact Feroz at


Last Updated 5/3/18