Effective prevention and treatment programs and services exist to address opioid misuse, opioid use disorder (OUD), and overdose. However, many people who need these programs and services do not receive them, in part because of a need to better understand how to make them most effective at a local level. For communities to successfully address their opioid crises, they need implementation strategies that take their unique local needs and resources into account.  The National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) to investigate how tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse and OUD are most effective at the local level.

HCS aims to reduce overdose deaths by 40% over three years in 67 communities in Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.  Broome County is one of the counties participating in the study in New York.  CCSI’s Lynne Esquivel recently moved into the role of Project Manager, NIDA HEALing Communities Study, to lead and coordinate all study activities for Broome County.

In addition to the Project Manager, this study also funds a Data Surveillance Coordinator/Epidemiologist for Broome.  This individual will work with the local medical and non-medical organizations to receive data on fatal and non-fatal opioid overdose deaths.  The Project Manager and Data Surveillance Coordinator will both work closely with the Columbia University team.

The research institutions and their community partners will work with local coalitions to develop and deploy comprehensive, data-driven plans to implement evidence-based practices across multiple community sectors to reduce opioid overdose deaths and address associated outcomes. The intervention seeks to promote a common vision, shared goals, and tailored strategies to mobilize communities to adopt evidence-based practices. The intervention will use a stepwise community change process with three components:

  • Community engagement
  • The Opioid Reduction Continuum of Care Approach (ORCCA)
  • A community-based communication campaign

The study is being conducted in two “waves.”  In Wave 1, communities started receiving the study intervention starting in December 2019, and Wave 2 communities will receive their intervention starting in December 2021.  Wave 2 communities may benefit from lessons learned in Wave 1. Broome is a wave 2 community.

In addition to the primary goal of reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths, there are numerous secondary outcomes, including:

  • Enhanced numbers of providers treating opioid use disorder with     medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) including buprenorphine,   methadone and naltrexone
  • Increased number of people and community-based organizations   trained to administer naloxone and provide overdose education
  • Reduced number of non-fatal overdoses
  • Increased numbers of people accessing medications for treatment of       Opioid Disorder (MOUD) and other drug treatment
  • Increased identification of people with opioid use disorder
  • Reduction in number of people progressing to opioid use disorder

For more information about launched the HEALing Communities Study in Broome County, please contact Lynne Esquivel, MPA, Project Manager, NIDA HEALing Communities Study.