Create Drug Education Materials

Education is key in helping to prevent the misuse of opioids. Educational kits are easily distributed throughout the community by partnering up with local community businesses and organizations. Some examples of items that can be included: pamphlets, informational brochures, magnets, bracelets, toys, pens/pencils etc. These items are anything that will draw attention to the educational information being provided. Alternatively, you can partner with a local pharmacy or other wellness-related business to display the kits at the checkout counter for customers.
How do I do that?1. Gather printed materials to include in each kit.2. Purchase giveaway items with drug education message (magnets, pens, bracelets, etc.)3. Package printed materials and giveaway items in small bag or box to be easily handed out to members of the public.4. Coordinate with local businesses to hand out kits to customers as they enter and leave the store.5. Alternatively, partner with a local pharmacy or other wellness-related business to display the kits at the checkout counter for customers to take while making purchase.

Host a Training Day for First Responders and the Community

First responders are firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). All three of these professions require continuous training throughout their career. With the use of opioids and the number of opioid overdoses, increasing, first responders need to know the most up to date information. They also need to be aware of the risks when responding to opioid-related emergency calls such as needles, the pysical environment, or even distraught family members. A training day would allow first responders to learn about the nature of opioid use and abuse and how to protect themselves, and others, from possible risk.
How do I do that?1. Determine location, date, and time of training day.2. Line up appropriate personnel to provide training (i.e., ER doctor/nurse, drug rehab counselor, etc.)3. Prepare training guides, handouts, etc.4. Create event invitations for local first responders.5. These people like to eat! Be sure to have free snacks and beverages available throughout the training day.

Supply Law Enforcement with Naloxone

Every 19 minutes someone dies of an overdose, which makes drug overdose the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Equipping law enforcement with naloxone kits and access to professional medical training for administration could mean the difference between life and death. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it removes and replaces the opioid from its receptor in the body. This reverses the effects of opioids for 30-90 minutes and allows the respiratory system to recover. It has proven effective in 86% of cases, but caution should still be exercised when administering naloxone. This means that slow release opioids could require another dose of naloxone if treatment is not reached within that 90-minute window. However; too much naloxone could put the person into immediate withdrawal, causing pain and subsequent violent behavior. This is one of the reasons that proper medical training is essential. Kits typically include instructions, gloves, and pre-filled nasal sprays or syringes.
How can I do that?1. Reach out to your local drug-free coalition, law enforcement or government officials.2. Contact your local health department to find out if they can provide law enforcement with training on the use of naloxone.

Sources: http://www.wbir.com/news/local/knoxville-law-enforcement-has-a-new-metho… https://www.goodrx.com/naloxone?hide_online_pharmacies=true&show_pet_fri… http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1609578#t=article EM Basic, Your Boot Camp Guide to Emergency Medicine podcast

Request ScreenU (College) be Used on Your Campus

According to the 2015 College Prescription Drug Survey , 1 in 4 undergraduate students have misused a prescription medication at some point in their lifetime.
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery (HECAOD) understands the need for addressing this issue and the resource constraints, in both time and money, that campuses face.
To combat this, HECAOD developed ScreenU, a web-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) tool to identify students at-risk of experiencing negative consequences for prescription drug misuse and connect them with resources on their campus that can support their success.
SBIRT is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It was designed using evidence-based practices. Students answer questions from a screening tool that identify behaviors that would be considered substance abuse and the level of risk of dependence on the drug. ScreenU takes only 5-10 minutes to complete.

Benefits of ScreenU
ScreenU was designed with the college student in mind and provides feedback and resources that address the unique challenges that they face. It can be used in a variety of settings and contributes to a comprehensive approach to prevention. In addition, ScreenU is:
Based in research- based on the large body of research that supports SBIRT as an early intervention tool
Cost effective- widespread implementation can be done with limited resources since it does not require an appointment or face to face feedback
Personalized- with feedback specific to a person’s risk level and resources specific to the campus and surrounding community
Brief- takes less than 10 minutes, making it easy to complete in many settings
Flexible- Can be used in a variety of settings including student conduct, residence halls, student health services, or counseling centers.
Meets students where they are- Can be completed on a smart phone, tablet, or computer

How can I do that?Contact you local campus representative, student services coordinator or local anti-drug coaltion to see if they will help you put together a proposal to present to your university.

Add Information to School’s Website on Opioids (Middle School and High School)

Schools should be a safe place for students to learn and grow. Parents and educators can team up to protect students from opioid addiction. Schools can add a section to their websites with information on opioids. The information is not intended to frighten parents or their children, but to make them aware and well informed on the issue. Schools can get as specific as having addiction recovery resources listed, posting a picture of their student resource officer(s), information or instructions on confidential reporting, reminders to pick up medications at the end of the school year, and information on sports injuries and opioids, or be as generic as listing links to resources and writing a summary of the school’s policy on substance abuse.
The Fargo Public School System in Fargo, North Dakota addresses the opioid epidemic on one of their student resource officer pages. They address the issue head on by explaining that opioids can be legal (prescription) or illegal (heroin), expressing how highly addictive the drugs are and giving links for the state of North Dakota’s prevention website and the Center for Disease Control’s website on fentanyl. Fargo Public Schools goes on to say that they will “continue preventive measures” and lets students and staff know who to contact at school when reporting substance abuse.
How can I do that?Contact your local schools or school board to find out if they would be willing to post information to their website(s). Many schools are responsible for their own content, but would need time to consider and vote on the topic before changing their website.

Use Online Continuing Education Courses for Prescribing Opioids

Health professionals can change the way they treat pain and reduce the chance that patients will become addicted to prescription medications. This can prove quite challenging for providers who must attempt to minimize misuse without impeding a patient’s access to medical care. Online training courses can help! Universities, medical associations, and other organizations are making it easier for medical practitioners to expand their knowledge about the opioid crisis, pain management, prescribing methods, and the science of addiction. Some online resources are free while others may have a cost associated. Continuing education credits (CMEs) can be offered through some of these courses.
How can I do that?Contact or do a web search of universities or medical associations to see what resources may be available regarding continuing education courses, or check out some of these organizations to help you get started.
Center for Disease ControlTennessee Medical Association

Provide an Excess Pill Dropoff Program

Drug take-back boxes are a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of excess unused prescription and over-the-counter medications. Proper disposal is crucial in preventing medications from falling into the wrong hands. Do not flush or pour medications down the drain, this can lead to waterway contamination. Take-back boxes that can accept controlled substances (which have the highest potential for abuse) are the most useful and popular.
How can I do that?1. Register the location with the DEA. You can contact your local DEA Diversion Office with any questions.2. Purchase your take-back box. Here are just a few vendors: CVS Grants, Save a Star, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators3. Find a service that will properly destroy the prescription drugs you have collected. Contact your local DEA for help in finding this service.4. Make certain that you are in compliance with Federal, State, tribal and local laws.

Partner with Above the Influence for Resources and Materials

Above the Influence is a part of the non-profit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and their goal is to make teens aware of the influences around them along with the impact those influences have over their decisions and consequently their lives. They operate under the belief that the more aware you are of the influences around you, the better prepared you will be to face them.
The website reads,“We’re not telling you how to live your life, but we are giving you another perspective and the latest facts. You need to make your own smart decisions.”
They work with partners at three levels: community, strategic and corporate sponsors. Community partners equip schools and youth-serving organizations across the country with materials and resources to help teens stay Above the Influence. Strategic partners offer unique opportunities to engage youth. Corporate Sponsors provide funding to help Above the Influence to continue offering their program in teen drug abuse prevention.
How can I do that?Contact Above the Influence through their website to see which partnership is right for your organization and to get started making a difference in the lives of teens and youth.

Help a Pregnant Family Member Struggling with Addiction

Pregnant women with substance use disorder run the risk of their babies being born drug-dependent.
Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) experience withdrawal symptoms after birth and usually require hospitalization, intensive care and medication(s) for several weeks to keep them comfortable and safe during the withdrawal process.

Let your loved one know that you are supportive by encouraging her to seek treatment. Offer to provide assistance in finding resources.
Check out the resources below to see what action steps to take next depending upon where your family member is in the process.