By Kali Fields, Director, Grassroots Advocacy
The saying “it takes a village” can apply to many of the obstacles life throws at us, but it relates to tackling substance use prevention in a unique way. For decades, communities have tried to wrap their arms around substance misuse and the best practices for prevention, all while helping those struggling with addiction find effective, reliable, and cost-effective resources.
Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc. (SAFE) does this work for their community every single day.
SAFE serves Chesterfield County, Virginia and utilizes awareness and education, community partnerships, youth leadership and advocacy to address substance abuse issues. The coalition works to create community-level change relating to substance abuse, from reducing stigma to educating school aged children on the risks of alcohol and drugs.
SAFE develops its initiatives by seeking feedback from community partners. They are able to adapt to confront whichever issue is most pressing for their own community at any given time.
Not only does the organization promote and assist with the safe disposal of prescription medications*, but it also leads an Opioid and Heroin Prevention Task Force. The task force convenes community stakeholders such as law enforcement, educators, social workers and recovery organizations to brainstorm and put in place initiatives with an environmental prevention approach for the varying populations in their community.
The task force implores you to discuss the risks of opioids with your health care provider and to be aware of how prescription opioid misuse and heroin misuse are linked. The task force offers a variety of resources on their website, such as:
- Curb The Crisis
- Opioid Solutions RVA regional response
- Opioids – the truth campaign
- Sink or Swim
One way we can help reduce addiction that could start with an opioid prescription is to increase access to and utilization of non-opioid therapies to manage acute pain. We must ensure communities know the risks of opioids, and know about alternatives to opioids for pain management, as well as reduce the number of opioid pills sitting in medicine cabinets across the United States. The NOPAIN Act is a critical piece of legislation that would reduce misuse and abuse of prescription opioids by leveling the playing field so non-opioids are just as accessible as opioids currently are in the acute post-surgical pain management setting.
Voices is proud to be working with SAFE to prevent substance misuse before it starts by advocating for the NOPAIN Act.
To learn more about ChesterfieldSAFE and their Opioid and Heroin Prevention Task Force, check out their website here: http://chesterfieldsafe.org/get-involved/safe-ohptf/
*Locations of safe drug disposal boxes in the county:
A MedReturn Drug Collection Unit has been installed in the lobby of Chesterfield County Police headquarters at 10001 Iron Bridge Road Chesterfield, VA 23832.
A Safe Medication Disposal Kiosk is also available at Walgreens Pharmacy locations:
4201 Meadowdale Blvd.
North Chesterfield, VA 23234
6851 Temie Lee Pkwy
Midlothian, VA 23112
A Safe Medication Disposal Kiosk is also available at CVS Pharmacy locations:
13800 Hull Street Road
8121 Midlothian Turnpike
6400 Iron Bridge Road