WHY OPIOIDS

North Carolina Local Governments and the Opioid Crisis: A Collective Impact Approach to Making Policy and Changing Lives

 

Opioid Response Project Teams in NC - ncIMPACT Initiative 

 

To achieve the collaborative, multi-faceted approach so crucial to tackling the opioid crisis in North Carolina, the UNC School of Government launched an intensive two-year collaborative learning model providing direct support to ten North Carolina communities working to enact an integrated and innovative policy and practice response to their local opioid crises.

 

This project, which is coordinated by the School’s ncIMPACT initiative, complements health and policy efforts at the state and local levels by working with communities that are ready to implement best practices. Local governments are the front lines of policy implementation. Using the team-oriented approach described, this project builds upon previous and ongoing efforts “to get arms around” the opioid crisis. This program is produced in partnership with the generosity of Blue Cross NC. For more information about this partnership, click here.

 

Most of the state’s efforts have focused, appropriately, on prevention and treatment, as evidenced by five of the seven focus areas in North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan: (1) reduce the oversupply of prescription opioids, (2) reduce the diversion of prescription drugs and the flow of illicit drugs, (3) increase community awareness and prevention, (4) make naloxone (a medication that reverses opioid overdose) widely available and provide care options for overdose survivors, and (5) expand treatment- and recovery-oriented systems of care.

 

While progress has been made at the state level, challenges remain for local implementation of policies and potential solutions. Local foster care and social services agencies in North Carolina see spikes in demand for services resulting from opioid misuse, local law enforcement and emergency management personnel handle more overdose and opioid-related issues, and local public health offices seeing their already-limited resources stretched even thinner to address this challenge. Communities face the monumental task of addressing a dire societal need with fewer tools in their toolbelts. But by making creative use of available tools, much can be done. Learn about the work accomplished through the Opioid Response Project, using the collective impact model to help communities respond together.

 

Faculty Coordinator