What is COACH?

The Harrison College of Pharmacy (HCOP) and Auburn University’s leadership established the Center for Opioid Research, Education and Outreach, or COACH, after identifying the need and recognizing an opportunity to serve our local communities and the state of Alabama. The Center enables researchers to unify existing programs and expertise, providing a stronger response to the opioid epidemic. We utilize each area of the Center to address the health and well-being of those affected by opioids and substance use disorders.

COACH works to serve the citizens of Alabama and the region by becoming a recognized leader in advocacy, research, education, and outreach for those impacted by opioids and substance use disorders. Consistent with Auburn’s mission as a land grant institution, researchers affiliated with the center continue to work with Alabama agencies as well as those at the federal level to investigate novel approaches for our citizens.

COACH has reached more than 10,000 Alabamians in the last 2 years including healthcare professionals, civic leaders, students in K-12, and patients in recovery. COACH continues to collaborate with many important stakeholders across the state.


  • COACH harnesses HCOP’s longstanding expertise and collaboration with federal agencies on illicit substance forensic chemistry.
  • Expertise to develop new therapies for pain management or as alternatives to opioids.
  • Population-level data analysis to identify trends, which inform approaches.


  • COACH’s commitment to education addresses the critical need to disseminate information related to the prevention, recognition, and treatment of substance use disorders in Alabama.
  • COACH strives to provide educational programs that are interprofessional to reflect the complexity of the problem.
  • Education methods run the gamut from small group, hands-on software training to large-group symposia with state officials and leading experts.


  • COACH’s commitment to outreach focuses on safe medication use.
  • Our community-based outreach programs are delivered live, locally, by content experts.
  • COACH also creates enduring content that is available on our website for all Alabamians.

Funding Model

  • COACH is primarily funded through external grants. Since it was founded, COACH has secured $2.5 million for outreach and education efforts, or $4.1 million when including funding prior to formalizing the Center in 2019.
  • Over the last eight years, COACH’s research efforts have been supported by $8.14 million in funds.