Combatting Greene County's Opioid Crisis with SUPPORT
WAYNESBURG – Greene County and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy's Program Evaluation Research Unit (PERU) launched the Substance Use Prevention and Promotion of Overdose Reduction and Treatment (SUPPORT) program to combat the opioid crisis and emphasize prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. SUPPORT members include PERU, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers, Greene County Department of Human Services, and Beacon Health Options.
Through the SUPPORT program, 207 healthcare professionals have been trained in motivational interviewing (a counseling approach to changing behavior), stigma reduction, and screening, brief intervention, and referring patients to treatment. Since October 2020, Cornerstone Care in Waynesburg, Mt. Morris, Rogersville, and Greensboro, have conducted over 14,000 screenings and identified 405 individuals with harmful or hazardous substance use. As a result, these individuals received brief interventions or referrals to treatment.
SUPPORT's success is rooted in the efforts of Greene County's Overdose Prevention Task Force. Launched in 2016, the task force works with individuals, families, and the community to end overdoses. Monthly meetings are designed to maximize joint power while minimizing duplication of services. Task force participants share trends, resources, and skills to implement and sustain overdose reduction efforts. Members include Greene County commissioners, Department of Human Services staff, criminal justice professionals, county coroners and staff, recovery faith groups, treatment providers, and those in the recovery community.
Within Greene County, the task force organizes overdose awareness and bystander response training; distributes naloxone (a medicine that works to reverse an opioid overdose) to community members; coordinates drug takeback days to collect and dispose of unused drugs and medication; and increases community awareness of substance use issues. PERU's Pennsylvania Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center provides technical assistance to the task force.
John L. Fox, MS, Single County Authority Administrator, states, "Our community has been working hard to decrease the prevalence and risk of substance use disorder and related health conditions, increase access to treatment and other services, and increase patient retention and recovery while receiving treatment."
Alli Clevenger, MPH, PERU Deputy Director, adds, “Our vision is to conduct meaningful work that facilitates each community member's ability to achieve optimal health, well-being, recovery and choice. We are grateful to our local partners who share our vision and are passionate about serving their communities. We are proud of the progress we made collectively through these invaluable initiatives.”
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use, visit www.co.greene.pa.us/department-human-services or contact John L. Fox, MS SCA Administrator, JFox@co.greene.pa.us.
The SUPPORT program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,000,000. The contents are those of the author(s). They do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov. The Pennsylvania Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center is funded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.