Coalitions in Action: Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County Takes on Opioid Awareness in the Epicenter of the Epidemic


 

The Montgomery County Prevention Coalition, based in Ohio, is unique as it serves urban, suburban and rural communities all housed in the county. Over 500,000 residents call Montgomery County home, and the county continues to see growth from citizens representative of countries around the world immigrating to the area. The county is situated conveniently next to Wright State University and Wright Patterson Air Force Base and home to 16 public school districts as well as the University of Dayton. Despite the thriving nature of the county, the greater Dayton area has been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

The Prevention Coalition’s Opioid Sub-Committee developed a social marketing campaign aimed to educate residents on alternatives to opioid prescriptions. Examples of these alternatives include: physical therapy, massage therapy, low-impact exercises, and yoga. Unfortunately, too many individuals who have suffered from opioid dependency issues started with a prescription from a medical professional. This campaign focused on educating and empowering individuals to understand all the options of pain management. This informational piece was included in county residents’ utility bills to ensure the messaging was widely received.

“The coalition members were incredibly responsive to the opioid issue and quickly determined how they could begin to strategize and develop solutions. Montgomery County is very fortunate to have many collaborative partners who are willing to assist others in the county, and specifically in the communities in which the partners live, play, work and worship,” said Tristyn Eppley, Project Manager. “The alternatives campaign was designed to equip residents with knowledge to not only guide their own interactions with opioid medications but also to provide talking points to speak with family members and friends about their route to pain management as well.”

Incremental change has been the base to which many of the coalition’s strategies have been built. While many residents want to see change as well as assist the community, they often aren’t given the tools and resources needed to carry out this change. This campaign has started many conversations among community members, some of which have circled back to the individuals who assisted in campaign development. Conversations ranging from individuals seeking knowledge regarding “what is an opioid?” to fitness instructors looking to partner with medical professionals to promote wellness, this campaign is empowering Montgomery County residents to enjoy healthy lives.