Opioid Resources for Extension Professionals

February 06, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF

ecop logoRecently, a survey was sent by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to all of the Directors and Administrators of Extension programs. The topic of the survey was the opioid epidemic and any existing resources, programs, or experts in Extension.

Background On the Opioid Epidemic In the U.S.

Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids nearly quadrupled, and over 165,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses. Since 2014, there was a sharp increase in heroin-involved deaths and an increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on an average day in the U.S.:

  • 3,900 people initiate nonmedical use of prescription opioids
  • 580 people initiate heroin use
  • 78 people die from an opioid-related overdose

Resources and Experts Identified By Extension Directors

The results of the survey did not compel the formation of a rapid response team at this time. However, the resources and experts identified through the survey are being made available for the reference of the Cooperative Extension System.

Extension Faculty With Expertise In Opioids

University of New Hampshire - Dr. Rick Alleva (rick.alleva@unh.edu) and  Dr. Thom Linehan (thom.linehan@unh.edu)

Pennsylvania State University - Dr. Mark A. Brennan, unescochair@psu.edu. Mark is an UNESCO Chair focused on domestic and international development. Dr. Shannon M. Monnat, smm67@psu.edu - Dr. Monnat does not have an extension appointment but has significant expertise on health and health disparities.

Oklahoma State University - Matthew Brosi, Ph.D., LMFT / matt.brosi@okstate.edu  

University of Nevada, Reno - Anne Lindsay, lindsaya@unce.unr.edu and Sara Velasquez, velasquezs@unce.unr.edu

Relevant Resources on Opioids

The Ohio State University - OSU College of Pharmacy Generation RX. Governor's Opiate Action Team Community Tool Kit and Start Talking

University of Delaware - Health Rocks

Cornell University - New York Education Data and Research Hub - click on the "Featured Data Tool" and then advance the years (upper right) to see the spread over time.

University of Nevada, Reno 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 'About the Epidemic'.  This site includes a fact sheet with the data included in the eXtension article and much other information that may be of assistance to Extension professionals and others.

U.S. Center for Disease Control 'Understanding the Epidemic'.  This site includes information about overdose, prevention and links to other resources as well.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.