CADCA Publisher December 23, 2020

Adapting to a Pandemic – A Gateway to Community Partnership

By Raiko Mendoza, Vice President, Business Development and Membership, CADCA | December 23, 2020

At CADCA, we strive to ensure that our substance use and misuse prevention coalitions, and the communities they serve, have the tools, resources and support they need to build and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities. We aim to be collaborative, comprehensive and, most importantly, adaptable. Our partnership with Pacira BioSciences, Inc. and Choices Matter on the GATEWAY documentary project is a perfect embodiment of this. 

In October 2019, Choices Matter released GATEWAY, a film about three families inadvertently impacted by opioid addiction that began with a prescription to manage pain after surgery. The documentary provides an intimate look into the struggles caused by legal opioid prescriptions when the dangers of these medications are not properly understood. This heavy but hopeful documentary is a resource our coalitions were interested in using in their communities to raise awareness and increase education around non-opioid options to manage pain after surgery.

During these unique and challenging times, holding an in-person screening of GATEWAY was just not possible. COVID-19, and its risk to communities in every part of the country, took precedent over previously routine day-to day activities and affected the ability of our coalitions to have direct and impactful touchpoints with their community members. This is why our partners at Pacira and Choices Matter developed a Virtual Screening Toolkit that guides coalitions in organizing a community screening to safely view the film from their homes and offices, while still providing the personal connection that communities have come to expect from our coalitions. The toolkit includes step-by-step instructions for setting up Zoom and Facebook Live events, along with tips for presenters when going live, and draft posts to share the film on social media.

In May, CADCA hosted a virtual screening of GATEWAY with 18 coalitions selected to participate in the Non-Opioids Choices project. This was a chance to hold an intimate, albeit virtual, gathering to view the documentary, capture reactions and feedback and explore what opportunities were available to spread awareness of this topic nationally.

In August, CADCA held a special screening of the documentary for almost 200 coalitions. Using the feedback our initial 18 coalitions provided, we held a guided Q&A after the call with members of the Choices Matter team, and one of the individuals featured in the documentary, Dr. Richard Chudacoff, to educate our coalitions on non-opioid options and the best ways to utilize this resource. With some communities re-opening, we followed up with another webinar in October that trained coalitions on how to host a screening for their communities.

Our coalitions took what they learned and hit the ground running. From a pop-up drive-in movie theater in Iowa to local public broadcast station screenings in New York, our coalitions have adapted to this new way of engaging their local sectors and stakeholders.

This project had a vision when it first kicked-off. Then, as with many things that were part of our routine, COVID-19 caused us to pivot. CADCA and our partners not only adapted, but successfully ensured that we did not miss a step in providing you, our coalitions, the support you have come to expect from CADCA.

To learn more about GATEWAY, download the In-Person/Virtual Screening Toolkit and to see how you can host a screening in your community, please visit CADCA’s website or contact

We look forward to 2021 and continuing our efforts to support the work you do. Thank you for all you do to keep your communities safe and healthy. Happy Holidays from everyone at CADCA!

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