RTI expert Jon E. Zibbell, PhD, along with Louise Vincent, MPH of North Carolina Survivors Union, presented at the 2019 North Carolina Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Summit. This summit was hosted by the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS). Its goal is to reduce opioid misuse, addiction and overdose by discussing evidence-based prevention practices, adverse childhood experiences, community strategies, harm reduction and more.
Zibbell and Vincent presented “We Are Not Just Research Subjects! Involving People Who Use Drugs as Collaborators in Community-Based Research to Reduce Drug-Related Harm.” They discussed best practices for developing genuine collaborations between people who use drugs (PWUD) and community-based researchers who study drug-related harm. Zibbell and Vincent also explained why it is critical to address the power imbalance between researcher and researched before you can begin to promote inclusion and community ownership of the research process.
During the Summit, NC DHHS released their NC Opioid Action Plan 2.0. This updated plan includes local strategies that counties, coalitions and stakeholders can use to fight the opioid epidemic. The plan focuses on three areas to fight the epidemic: prevention, reducing harm and connecting to care.
RTI’s current opioid research is already making great strides in these three focus areas. Our experts believe that combatting the opioid crisis begins with prevention efforts to keep people from misusing opioids in the first place. We also discuss the evidence behind harm reduction strategies and urge policymakers to consider evidence-backed approaches to fight the opioid epidemic. Additionally, we research measurement-based care and provider feedback to improve the quality of addiction treatment.