Combating a Crisis: Exploring Community Responses to Opioids
See proposal abstract
Principal Investigator: John Leatherman, Kansas State University
Co-Principal Investigator: Bonnie Bressers, Kansas State University; Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University
In 2017, more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. Opioids are the main driver of drug overdose deaths, leading the federal government to declare a nationwide Public Health Emergency. Most federal assistance is targeted to states, while at the community level - where consequences of the epidemic are acute - local leaders, healthcare providers, and law enforcement are left to formulate a response. A tenet of this project is that the epidemic is too great a problem for any single local entity to handle. Rather, it requires collaboration of a coalition of local entities to reduce the incidence of opioid abuse. There is evidence such coalitions are forming and initiating remedial local efforts, but little is known about the extent to which this is occurring, the scope of coalition activities, or the progress of their efforts.
This project proposes a pilot study comparing Ohio, where the opioid problem is acute, to Kansas, where opioids are less problematic. We propose surveying mental health professionals to learn about community-based initiatives, the range of activities undertaken, and the extent of success or failure. We hypothesize we will find hopeful indications that local coalitions are forming and making progress in response to the opioid crisis. This information would be compelling toward securing additional resources to scale the effort to the national level with the goal of offering communities a viable strategy to combat opioids and best practices to effectively respond to the ravages of the epidemic.
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