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(190) Letting Communities Lead: Providing Evidence-Based Technical Assistance in Response to the Opioid Epidemic


Holly Hagle, Ph.D. Education, Instructional Management and Leadership; M.A. Education; B.S. Psychology – Co-Director, ATTC STR-TA grant; ATTC Network Coordinating Office (NCO); Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC NCO)


Session/Poster Description: In response to the burgeoning opioid epidemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded the Opioid Response Network (ORN) Consortium, funded by the State-Targeted Response: Technical Assistance (STR-TA) grant. The purpose of ORN is to support community efforts in building capacity for evidence-based practices in the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid use disorders (OUD).

ORN was funded to support the Opioid STR program, authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act is part of Congress’ efforts to work within communities on the opioid epidemic. Congress’ support to communities“...will ensure that Americans suffering with opioid use disorders will gain access to the life-saving evidence-based medications for opioid use disorders and psychosocial services they need.” A hallmark of ORN is to respond to technical assistance requests with local experienced consultants in prevention, treatment and recovery who help build local capacity to create a sustainable, and potentially replicable, response to the opioid epidemic.

ORN began accepting technical assistance (TA requests) in May of 2018, as of July 31st, 2019, ORN has responded to over 1000 TA requests, averaging almost 5 activities per TA request. ORN’s technical assistance has potentially impacted 1.5 million people. There is no other Federally funded OUD TA effort which has reached the breadth of ORN, in such a short period of time, using community-level sustainable practices. With national data indicating varying trends in opioid drug overdose deaths in different states, states may be interested in the ORN’s community-driven response.

Contributors: Kathryn Cates-Wessel, BS; Francis Levin, MD; Michael Knabel, MSc

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