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Healthier and Safer Workplaces (and Communities):The CareTrek Answer #7

Posted by Joe Antle on October 31, 2020 3:40 PM EDT
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What are some key actions that communities, and the leading employers who make up important aspects....

...of the communities' economic vibrancy, can take to reduce the adverse impact of substance use disorder and improve employment opportunities for all citizens in the communities, not just those striving to overcome substance abuse and addicition?

Here is an excerpt from the excellent white paper called "Rural Community Action Plan" that was created and distributed in early 2020 by the Federal Government's Office of National Drug Control Policy.  While this report was crafted in support of actions to be considered in reducing opioid and other drugs and alcohol addiction in rural communities, logically they are useful in metropolitan communities as well:


As rural community leaders look to build healthy and prosperous communities and deliver services while dealing with the opioid crisis, they must maximize government efficiency and ensure responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Here are four ways to manage the crisis more efficiently at the local level:

1. Cut off illicit traffic. Stop the problem at the source. Work with Federal, State, and local partners to reduce the supply of illicit opioid analogues, including fentanyl and carfentanil. These synthetic forms of opioids are becoming a leading cause of overdoses in communities as drug traffickers lace drugs with stronger opioids to create a more potent product.

2. Calculate the total cost. Start adding up the costs associated with the opioid crisis in your region. The crisis consumes enormous fiscal resources in small counties and building awareness of that drain will motivate support and generate action within the community. Quantifying the causes and consequences of the crisis will help leaders develop and implement effective prevention, mitigation, and intervention policies.

3. Consider new alternatives. Look for new ways to approach needs. Counties can improve health and addiction treatment services for justice-involved individuals and embrace alternatives to punishment models to decrease short- and long-term healthcare, disability, and criminal justice costs to both local taxpayers and the Federal Government. Invest in technology to help communities work better and smarter and more efficiently.

4. Cross-collaborate to cut costs and improve efficiency. Solutions are more effective when coordinated among the various governments within a region. Explore ways to cross-collaborate to help minimize costs. Initiate regional cooperation and strengthen lines of communication with neighboring governments. By securing partnerships with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, counties remove barriers, overlap and duplication, and better coordinate service delivery. Pursue public and private funding opportunities to bring programs and initiatives to the community. Engage with all critical community stakeholders and connect local efforts and community working groups with State and county efforts to make sure that the community is implementing coordinated responses.

Source:  Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger Healthy, Drug-Free Rural Communities Winter 2020.

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