Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Opioids

Opioids—either prescription medications or an illicit drug—present one of the most serious drug crisis the US has ever experienced. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, and opioid addiction is driving this epidemic. In California alone, nearly 2,000 people died in 2016 from opioids, devastating families and communities across the state.

The Public Health Institute believes that all of us—doctors, pharmacists, parents, teachers, advocates, mental health providers, law enforcement, and others—have a role to play in combating this crisis. By working together, communities can launch multi-pronged approaches that advance priority, effective strategies to help prevent and treat overdoses and ensure safe opioid prescribing.

Our expertise includes:

  • Leadership training: Through in-person educational programs and one-on-one coaching for individuals and teams, our experts can help to build up organizational and community leaders. We also specialize in implementing "train the-trainer" programs to increase overall capacity. In California, PHI created a statewide learning network to share best practices, leverage resources and encourage peer-to-peer learning in opioid abuse prevention. Through this, we provide coaching, training and support for communities across the state.
  • Coalition and network building: Work with us to build broad coalitions of diverse partners in your efforts, including public health practitioners, law enforcement, hospitals, libraries, schools, community leaders, advocates and more.
  • Evaluation support research: PHI offers ongoing and as-needed evaluation to inform program improvement or policy development.

Resources and Tools

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Experts

Carmen Nevarez

Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, is PHI's vice president for external relations, preventive medicine advisor and director of the Center for Health...

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Programs

California Opioid Safety Network

California Opioid Safety Network (COSN) will provide support including technical assistance, coaching and customized learning opportunities to Opio...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Advancing Innovative Opioid Prevention Partnerships to Save Lives

The opioid epidemic is having a devastating impact in communities across the nation, fueling a dramatic increase in premature deaths. In California, there were almost 2,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2016. In late 2015, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) launched a statewide network of 16 local coalitions in 23 counties focused on three priority strategies—safe opioid prescribing, use of medication-assisted addiction treatment (MAT), and access to naloxone to reverse drug overdoses. 

In 2017, PHI conducted an assessment of the California Health Care Foundation’s network of opioid safety coalitions to identify what strategies are working at the local level. PHI found that more than 90% of coalitions facilitated adoption of safer prescribing guidelines, more than 75% increased access to naloxone to reverse overdoses, and more than 50% expanded use of medication-assisted addiction treatment. 

Learn more from the report, Tackling an Epidemic: An Assessment of the California Opioid Safety Coalitions Network.