Prevention scientists have long acknowledged that individuals’ substance misuse and disorder are shaped by multiple levels of their social environment—from family and friend relationships to public policy and culture. Despite this, approaches to address opioid misuse often focus on changing the individual through treatment and relying on someone to seek out support, rather than having professionals and organizations reach out with interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues and introduced new challenges related to social connections.
To navigate the impact of a syndemic (COVID-19 + opioid overdose epidemic), public health researchers and policy makers must codify the role and importance of prevention. This webinar focuses on strategies to prevent opioid misuse and opioid use disorder (OUD) that involve bi-directional interactions between people who use drugs and different levels of their social environment to forge better outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.
Upon completion of this webinar, attendees will be able to:
- Recognize key links between opioid misuse and social connections based on a systematic review of literature
- See how several National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Prevention research projects are attempting to leverage the social environment and systems in their intervention efforts
- Recognize how COVID-19 poses unique challenges to prevention strategies and consider related adaptations