The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Resource Center to Assist Communities in Response to the Opioid Epidemic
By Tara Kunkel, Senior Drug Policy Advisor and Visiting Fellow, Bureau of Justice Assistance
According to provisional counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses – including illicit drugs and prescription opioids – killed more than 72,000 Americans in 2017, a 2-fold increase in 10 years. The devastating impact of the opioid epidemic is felt not just in families, over the loss of lives, but in law enforcement, health care, schools, and virtually every other segment of society. Responding to this epidemic is one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s top priorities.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP) aims to reduce opioid abuse and the number of overdose fatalities, as well as mitigate the impacts on crime victims by supporting comprehensive, collaborative initiatives. COAP focuses on systemwide initiatives and innovative approaches to promote substance abuse treatment and recovery support. In structuring COAP, BJA has focused on effective policy strategies that include the following:
- Supporting our nation’s first responders and strengthening their partnerships with behavioral health, public health, and agencies that serve crime victims.
- Expanding diversion programs for nonviolent individuals who abuse illicit and prescription opioids.
- Implementing and enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
- Encouraging and supporting comprehensive cross-system planning and collaboration among officials who work in law enforcement, pretrial services, the courts, probation and parole, child welfare, reentry, PDMPs, and emergency medical services, as well as health care providers, public health partners, and agencies that provide substance abuse treatment and recovery support services.
- Developing and implementing strategies to identify and provide treatment and recovery support services to high-frequency utilizers of multiple systems (e.g., health care, child welfare, criminal justice) who have a history of opioid abuse.
- Increasing the availability of treatment and recovery support services in rural or tribal communities by expanding the use of technology-assisted treatment and recovery support services.
- Enhancing public safety, behavioral health, and public health information-sharing partnerships that leverage key public health and public safety data sets (e.g., de-identified PDMP data, naloxone administrations, fatal and nonfatal overdose data, drug arrests) to create a holistic view of the environment and develop interventions based on this information.
Supporting Effective Responses to the Opioid Epidemic
To help jurisdictions design and implement their COAP program, BJA launched the COAP Resource Center. The materials in the COAP Resource Center support effective state, local, and tribal responses to the opioid epidemic. Policymakers and practitioners will find:
- An overview of COAP, including the scope of the problem and COAP’s strategic focus.
- Profiles of BJA-funded COAP grantees across the nation.
- Educational materials, including newsletters, no-cost webinars, podcasts, and complementary resources from federal agencies and stakeholder partners.
- Articles and reports, including data briefs, infographics, and toolkits.
- Funding and training opportunities.
- Information on federal opioid initiatives.
- COAP-related announcements and calendar of events.
- Grant management information.
- An electronic training and technical assistance (TTA) request form, details of other TTA opportunities, and an overview of the COAP TTA provider team.
- Access to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Training and Technical Assistance Center.
In 2019, BJA will enhance the COAP Resource Center with an online learning system, including self-paced modules, interviews, and reading material, that supports the critical elements of effective responses to the opioid epidemic. The COAP Resources Center is a joint effort between BJA and BJA’s TTA team that includes the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, Advocates for Human Potential, Brandeis University, and Altarum.
Accessing TTA through the COAP Resource Center
BJA offers TTA to state, local, and tribal agencies across the United States. Jurisdictions may submit a TTA request with information regarding their specific needs through the COAP Resource Center. COAP’s TTA supports both COAP grantees and non-grantees with demonstrated need. To request TTA, complete the online request form at https://www.coapresources.org/TTA.
How do I submit information for the COAP Resource Center?
If you are interested in submitting a resource, an announcement, a best practice, a success story, or a calendar entry, please email COAP@iir.com.
If you would like to be added to the COAP distribution list, your request is welcome at COAP@iir.com.
If your jurisdiction is in need of training or technical assistance related to the opioid epidemic, or if you know of a community that would benefit from this type of assistance, please contact the BJA National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC) at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.
If you are interested in submitting the work of your organization or jurisdiction for consideration in a future TTA Today blog post or in obtaining information related to a particular topic area, please email us at BJANTTAC@ojp.usdoj.gov.
Points of view or opinions on BJA NTTAC’s TTA Today blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, BJA, or BJA NTTAC.