Truth Pharm Helps you MOBILIZE YOUR COMMUNITY TO
REDUCE THE HARM FROM THE OPIOID/HEROIN EPIDEMIC
Any individual or group who wants to be proactive and progressive in addressing the heroin/opioid epidemic can construct a framework of services in their community to positively affect this epidemic. Truth Pharm can help you form a Community Action Committee and enact a Community Action Plan.
A Community Action Plan Includes:
- Forming an Action Committee
- Identifying your community’s resources and needs
- Form an Action Plan
- Establishing an Impact Panel
- Setting up an Initial Community Awareness Event
- Setting up Community Forums for Disseminating Information
- A Naloxone Administration Training
- Holding a High School Assembly Event
Form a Community Action Committee (CAC). The first step in developing a Community Action Plan is to form a Community Action Committee. Truth Pharm works with you to form a CAC that is comprised of members of your community who want to be involved in the solution to this epidemic. The number of people on a CAC varies from community to community. Truth Pharm works with the CAC to form an Action Plan.
Identify Community Resources and Needs. Truth Pharm works with the CAC to identify the community’s available resources, determine how to access those resources, identify the resources the community needs but lacks, and means of acquiring those needed resources. Resources might include unused prescription dr0p-off locations, points of access for treatment or crisis, needle-exchange locations, harm reduction locations, naloxone training sites, recovery groups, treatment options and their access, etc. Truth Pharm also serves as an advisor to creating and hosting a series of awareness events in the community.
Form an Action Plan: After having identified the community’s resources and needs, Truth Pharm helps the Action Committee form a plan for implementing programs to bring the needed resources to the community. Each community’s action plan will be unique to that community but all will have some items in common, such as holding awareness events. In preparation for the first awareness event Truth Pharm helps the committee form an Impact Panel.
Establish an Impact Panel. Before setting up an awareness event, Truth Pharm works with the CAC to establish an Impact Panel. The purpose of this panel is to participate in Community Awareness Events (described below) and to inform attendees of the community’s available resources and its needs. Truth Pharm helps with panel-member presentations to ensure speakers do not use language that adds to the stigma associated with addiction. The goal of the Impact Panel is to cover a broad spectrum of addiction problems experienced by people with different exposures addressing the following:
- A person presently struggling with addiction: to personalize the addiction problem, raise empathy with the struggle, and reduce the stigma attached to addiction.
- A person in recovery: to personalize the problem, show common paths to addiction and shed light and hope on the possibility of recovery.
- A parent or family member affected: raise empathy and show how the entire family is affected.
- Law enforcement (e.g., narcotics officer, D.A.): to discuss community impacts and present statistics.
- Addiction specialist: to explain the disease of addiction and how opioid/heroin addiction differs from other substance-use addictions.
- A Truth Pharm Representative: to discuss the importance of community involvement and the actions all citizens can take to help break the stigma associated with addiction and raise awareness of the problems associated with addiction.
Setting up Community Awareness Events. Truth Pharm works with the Community Action Committee to create a series of Community Awareness Events. The goal of a Community Awareness Event is to raise awareness about and reduce the stigma of heroin/opioid addiction through presentations of and interactions with members of the Impact Panel, and to provide all attendees a way they can positively impact the heroin/opioid epidemic. A further goal of these events is to identify and involve stakeholders and new partners within the community.
Set up community forums for disseminating information. Truth Pharm sets up follow-up forums in the community that allow community members to tell their stories, identify resources that have been helpful, and identify shortfalls and obstacles they have faced. The goal is to:
- Teach about the disease of addiction at an in-depth level.
- Teach how to recognize signs of use and addiction.
- Teach the importance of loving support.
- Discuss types of treatment available.
- Educate people regarding paths of entry to treatment and typical barriers.
- Teach self-care and preservation to affected family members.
Naloxone Administration Training. Truth Pharm provides free training in recognizing the signs of a drug overdose and in administering the overdose reversal medication, naloxone. In New York State, the training and kits are free. We would like this to be the case on the west coast.
High School Assembly. The goal in addressing an assembly of high-school students is to engage as many students into the discussion of substance use disorders (SUDs) and the heroin/opioid epidemic as possible. Rather than using scare tactics and focusing on abstinence only, we present national data and ask the audience to think about and discuss with us how they think the students in their school measure up to the national data. This approach makes possible a matter of fact, non-judgmental conversation among students that recognizes there are already students using (and possibly addicted) as well as those who never have used and never will. Our unique approach gives a role in the epidemic to each and every student to. This creates empathy and compassion among the students and builds a sense of community amongst the student body. Additionally, our forum allows for harm reduction and alternative-treatment discussions.
The program is best if 1.5-2 hours long, however, it can be broken into two segments.
Finally, as we leave the community, we work with the Community Action Committee on a plan to create a community action group that will be tasked with keeping the momentum and activities alive in the community after Truth Pharm leaves. We offer continuing Truth Pharm consultations.
A NOTE REGARDING FINANCES
Truth Pharm is a 501c3 non-profit organization. We ask that Community Action Committees raise the funds to cover the expenses Truth Pharm incurs in providing on-site services (which we strive to keep low). It is often possible to find funding through a local sponsor or a grant. Truth Pharm has, however, never refused to service a community group for lack of funds.
For more information or to set up a consultation