So how do you determine what kind of program you need, how much it will cost, who to include, how long should it run, and other critical factors? Start by determining where the needs are. Utilize existing information, talk with experts, read reports, and do your research.
In a July 2014 report by Wisconsin's State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA) Prevention Committee’s Heroin Ad-Hoc Committee, they highlighted the increase of heroin use in Wisconsin. Based on findings in this report, the Wisconsin legislature determined that Wisconsin DOC should research and implement a program to assist individuals within the correctional system with opioid use disorder. The report included data from our state Department of Justice about the increase in opioid-related arrests in the state and where that increase was occurring. This helped us to develop our program and focus our resources. Leveraging existing reports, data, and stakeholder resources can help you make your case.
Where to find research and information
Linked on this page are resources that contain background information, research, data, and history on the opioid epidemic. They can talk you through how to review your agency's available data and pull out what is important for program design and development.
Internal agency data or research
Your agency or local partners may have resources available to collect, analyze, and provide reports on substance use disorder or overdoses. These reports can assist with data driven decision making and policy implementation to ensure that available resources are targeted to where the evidence points is needed. Resources may include your research staff, policy directors, legislative liaisons, or data managers.
National and local media outlets provide a perspective of the prevalence of opioid abuse in local, regional, and national markets. These reports can assist with narrowing down geographic locations where resources can be focused. It can also be used to secure support for resources.
Providers (medical and treatment)
Treatment providers have a direct link to those with opioid use disorders who can provide information on use, abuse, and treatment trends. Google searches for “AODA treatment”, “SUD treatment”, “drug and alcohol counselors” can provide local contacts to agencies and providers specializing in treatment and counseling delivery services. Emergency rooms often track and report fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses. Your state health services or public health agencies may also have useful data and information.
Federal, state, local, non-profit agencies
Agencies such as the Department of Justice, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Health Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration gather and report data that can be utilized to establish service needs and which can drive public policy and program recommendations. Other state correctional agencies that have established programs that we reached out to include Rhode Island, Colorado, Missouri, and Florida.