Goal Statement: Prevention of opioid addiction in Benton and Franklin County, WA through the implementation of effective strategies, resources, and prevention programs.
Significant Findings: Opioid addiction is a significant public health crisis in the United States costing approximately $78.5 billion a year (NIDA, 2021). Both Benton and Franklin County, Washington have been impacted by the national opioid epidemic. Statistics show that in Benton County between 2018-2020 there was a 169.8% increase in opioid deaths and Franklin County experienced a staggering 289.2% increase in opioids deaths in 2018-2020 (Addictions, Drug, and Alcohol Institute, 2021). Research indicates that prevention and advocacy programs are effective methods in decreasing the onset of opioid addiction. The social-ecological model provides a framework for understanding risk factors and protective factors in order to establish prevention programs at the individual, interpersonal, community, and societal levels (Jalali et al., 2020). Advocacy is a crucial aspect in developing opioid prevention programs which helps to bring about positive social change and promotes the well-being of others at the institutional, community, and public policy levels (Ratts et al., 2015).
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: The overall objective is to reduce risk factors and to increase protective factors. At the individual level this can include improving both physical and mental health by addressing issues such as chronic pain and underlying mental health illnesses. The interpersonal level may include taking part in healthy activities with family and friends in order to reduce stress and to increase overall well-being. At the community level, involvement in faith-based programs, after-school activities, and evidenced based programs such as the Project Towards No Drug Abuse (Project TND) which is a prevention program aimed towards high school youth and young adults aged 18-25 can significantly reduce the onset of opioid addiction (Washington Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery, 2012). Lastly, at the societal level, increasing public awareness of opioid misuse and their potential dangers will assist in decreasing social stigma and misconceptions regarding opioid addiction.