—Public Health Project Sites in Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina Will Build Community Capacity—
Washington, DC, September 30, 2022 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, has awarded almost $175,000 in funding to five sites as part of the Harm Reduction and Primary Care Providers: Academic Detailing project. This work is important as overdose fatalities have continued to rise across the country.
Harm reduction is a substance use disorder treatment approach that emphasizes engaging directly with people who use drugs to prevent overdose and infectious disease transmission, improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those served, and offer low-threshold options for accessing substance use disorder treatment and other health care services. Academic detailing is an established outreach technique aimed at providers to help them apply public health best practices and better serve their patients. Academic detailing uses one-on-one interactions between an academic detailer and a provider, establishing a relationship in which the detailer shares up to date and accurate information benefiting patients.
With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five sites have been selected to pilot key harm reduction messages. These site officials will conduct academic detailing with primary care providers (PCP) to increase their knowledge of harm reduction, increase their ability to incorporate harm reduction into the provision of care, and increase referrals of individuals who use substances to harm reduction services in their communities. The recipients of this funding are:
Linn County Public Health, Iowa; $35,000
Linn County Public Health has received $35,000 to hire students from the University of Iowa to become harm reduction ambassadors, develop harm reduction toolkits, and provide education to primary care and urgent care providers in Linn County. The harm reduction ambassadors will connect with healthcare administrators and arrange a time to do on-site academic detailing at multiple clinics throughout the county. The harm reduction toolkits and education will provide information on the newly established lock boxes installed in the county, allowing clients’ access to clean harm reduction supplies 24/7. The lock boxes are stocked from multiple community partners. Items in the boxes may include clean needles, fentanyl test strips, bleach, sharps containers, alcohol pads, hygiene items, wound care kits, information/vouchers for naloxone, information related to safer use practices, and health and treatment resources. The program also promotes safe disposal of sharps with large sharps bins that can accept up to a milk jug in size.
The harm reduction toolkits will also provide information on harm reduction from the CDC, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Harm Reduction Coalition. This project will specifically take place in Linn County, which has a slightly higher rate of opioid-related mortality than the state rate. Per the Opioid Data Report for Linn County, IA written in 2022, the opioid-related mortality rate increased in 2020 to 26.1 deaths per 100,000 people — the highest rate of opioid-related mortalities that has been observed in Linn County.
University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville; $35,000
Through its grant funding of $35,000, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville will leverage its network which consists of over 984 primary care providers to select 10 providers to participate in their academic detailing program. The University will conduct a needs assessment with these providers, which will be used to inform the design of the key messages. University officials will develop a local resource guide specific to each primary care provider’s region so that they will have the tools to appropriately care for their patients. The work of this pilot is important. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Drug Overdose Deaths Statistical Report (2020), the number of opioid-involved overdose deaths in the state rose 59%, from 879 (2019) to 1,400 (2020). Additionally, the total number of all drug overdoses increased by 53% across the state from 1,131 to 1,734 in this timespan.
University of New Hampshire; $34,997
The University of New Hampshire will use its funding of $34,997 to expand its existing academic detailing program, Harm Reduction Education and Technical Assistance (HRETA). From 2019-2021, the HRETA project team successfully engaged 540 New Hampshire providers in academic detailing surrounding topics related to harm reduction and substance use. This proposed project will focus on the Winnipesaukee Public Health Network region, which according to HRETA has twice the rate of hospitalization for concurrent infection and opioid use, 20% higher overdose rates, and half the number per capita of active buprenorphine prescribers, as compared to New Hampshire as a whole.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS); $35,000
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has been awarded funding of $35,000 to expand its current academic detailing program to increase the knowledge of PCPs about harm reduction, increase PCPs’ ability to incorporate harm reduction services into their clinics, and increase referrals of people who use substances to harm reduction services within the community. Specifically, UAMS will target rural PCPs for this pilot, and UAMS will incorporate evidence-based information on treatment and referral services for mental health and substance use disorders, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, and motivation interviewing skills in its academic detailing pilot. UAMS seeks to increase linkages to services and treatment by PCPs to reduce overdose morbidity and mortality. This work is critical as the state of Arkansas reported 547 overdose deaths in 2020, which is an increase from 352 overdose deaths in 2019.
Alosa Health, Delaware; $35,000
Alosa Health received a grant of $34,299 to inform PCPs of existing resources that can better support patients who use drugs. With support and guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health, Alosa will disseminate information on a variety of topics, including: the naloxone program through the Delaware Standing Order, distribution of fentanyl test strips with messaging, the prescription drug take-back program, the syringe services program, and promotion of healthcare provider resources at HelpisHereDe.com. Through this project, Alosa Health will specifically target Sussex County, which has a higher proportion of individuals living with opioid use disorder as compared to the state of Delaware as a whole. According to ESSENCE 2020 data, Sussex County had 451 substance use disorder and opioid use disorder-related hospitalizations in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.