CADCA Publisher April 11, 2018

Coalition Leaders Testify for Substance Use and Misuse Prevention Policy on the Hill

On Wednesday, April 11th, Lisa Roberts, Coordinator at Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance, OH, and Amy Haskins, Project Director at Jackson County Health Department, WV, will testify before the Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at 10 am in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.

Roberts and Haskins will be addressing local responses and resources to curtail the opioid epidemic.

“We are thrilled to have two outstanding, impactful coalition leaders on a panel focused on the opioid epidemic and what communities can do to make a difference,” said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman & CEO, CADCA. “We at CADCA strongly believe that it is the local leaders tailoring prevention strategies and resources to their unique community’s needs that leads to positive sustainable outcomes.  The focus on prevention is needed now more than ever and having two expert leaders certainly highlights the impact that leaders at every level have on creating safe, healthy and drug-free communities.

Roberts is a public health nurse in Ohio, positioned in the Appalachian region that has been significantly impacted by prescription opioids for decades. “Beginning in 2013, the DFC grant allowed us to obtain baseline data for youth substance use in Scioto County for the very first time in history. This data allowed our coalition to plan and implement locally tailored and evidence-based strategies,” Roberts said. “I believe that these outcomes are a direct result of the DFC program and the requirement that coalitions go through a year-long Academy conducted by the National Coalition Institute, which teaches coalition leaders core competencies and essential processes to establish and maintain a highly effective coalition capable of successful outcomes.”

Haskins’ role as Project Director at a West Virginian organization has given her insight to the worst of the epidemic, which has hit the state hard. She also works with the Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition in the community, stating: “Over the last ten years I have been asked numerous times how I became so passionate about the issue of addiction. After seeing 16 families of young adults in our community face the death of their child, grandchild or significant other, and as a parent myself, it was absolutely heart breaking. I do not want one of my three children to become a statistic for the State of West Virginia, or the community of Jackson County.”

Haskins sits on the Coalition Advisory Committee at CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), advising the organization from the perspective of the coalition field. Both Scioto County Drug Action Team Alliance and Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition are funded by the Drug Free Communities grant from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. Haskins also stresses the importance of the Institute in training her coalition on substance use prevention which has resulted in population-level reductions in substance misuse.

Haskins stated: “If we want to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic, we absolutely must focus on stopping the pipeline to addiction and preventing use before it starts. Not only is it necessary to preserve the lives of individuals who fall victim to addiction, but it saves our society between $2 and $20 in areas such as drug abuse treatment, overall health care and criminal justice system costs (Swisher, J.D., Scherer, J., and Yin, R.K. The Journal of Primary Prevention. “Cost-Benefit Estimates in Prevention Research.” 25:2, October 2004), and allows us time to address the substantial shortfalls in our substance abuse treatment and recovery infrastructure.”

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