Opioid Crisis Response
The Treasure Valley Partnership members began discussing the growing opioid problem in the U.S. and the valley as early as November of 2012. The Director of the Idaho Office on Drug Policy alerted the members about a growing prescription opioid abuse problem. At the time, there were only 20% of prescription prescribers were part of the State’s Prescription monitoring program. Also, a legislative work group was formed to study and work on the issue at the time.
Over the course of the next several years, the prescription opioid abuse problem became a regular topic of discussion. People such as; the Directors of the Board of Pharmacy and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, and local representatives of the DEA, FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office came and gave the members updates on the activities associated with this growing problem.
In November of 2017, representatives of the Corporation for National and Community Service came to a Partnership meeting and proposed the Partnership take on a grant program to obtain Vista Volunteers to help on various aspects of combatting opioids in the Treasure Valley. At the time, the Partnership agreed to move forward with generating interest pursuing the grand and began to recruit stake holders in the treatment and rehabilitation community in the valley.
Over the next couple of months, Bill Larsen reported increasing support for participation in finding solutions to the local opioid problem. He indicated that each time he considered setting a date for an initial meeting of Treasure Valley stake holders, many additional people contacted him wanting to be involved.
Prior to this time, starting in April of 2017, the Idaho Office of Drug Policy developed an Idaho Opioid Misuse and Overdose Strategic Plan, 2017-2022.
The following is a link to the Idaho Opioid Misuse and Overdose Strategic Plan, 2017-2022.
The State-wide Opioid Misuse Plan had the following components.
- Educate Provides, Patients, and the PublicC
- Improve Opioid Prescription Practices
- Strengthen and Support Families
- Expand Awareness of, and Access to, Treatment
Treasure Valley Response to the Opioid Crisis
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced to the Treasure Valley Partnership in January 2018 that he was going to dedicate a full-time staff person and resources to addressing the Opioid issue in the Treasure Valley.
The initial Treasure Valley Treasure Valley Opioid Crisis Response Strategic Planning Summit was held June 7th and 8th, 2018. Over 60 people representing a broad range of organizations in the Treasure Valley convened to develop the Treasure Valley Opioid Crisis Response Strategic Plan.
The following is a link to the Treasure Valley Opioid Crisis Response 2018 – 2021 Strategic Plan
The TV Crisis Response focuses on five different goals to be completed or achieved by 2021..
- By July 2021, ensure adequate resources exist for prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and data collection.
- By July 2019, establish a coalition to optimize collaboration, communication, and coordination.
- By July 2019, utilize law enforcement-assisted diversion to identify individuals at risk who may be amenable to treatment.
- By July 2021, expose healthcare professionals and the public to information that will prevent opioid misuse.
- By January 2020, identify, optimize, and implement evidence-based, patient/family-centered, comprehensive SUD treatment options in the Treasure Valley to reduce opioid overdoses by 50%.
At the midpoint of this three-year plan, there have been some major successes as a result of the Treasure Valley effort.
Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is a program of the Boise Police Department and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office to divert opioid offenders to treatment programs instead of charging them and putting them into the criminal justice system. The program received funding from the IROC Program (Idaho Response to Opioid Crisis) to pay for 10 individuals to go through the diversion program. This funding was expanded for a second year
There are representatives from local law enforcement jurisdictions throughout the Treasure Valley involved in this effort. It is hoped that this effort will prove so successful that additional law enforcement agencies undertake this effort
Hospital Soft Hand-Off
Leading physicians at Emergency Department at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center designed a program whereby they could provide a soft hand-off of individuals who utilized emergency services due to an opioid overdose, to substance abuse treatment services.
As of April 2020, the program has and continues to receive funding through the IROC program and is serving individuals in Treasure Valley St. Al’s locations. The program is strictly voluntary and is provided no-cost to the individual who has experienced an overdose.
The Treasure Valley Opioid Crisis Response team provided an Opioid educational program to all 8th grade and 11th grade classrooms in the Boise School District. The group developed a TOOLKIT available for other school districts to use.
Members of the Treasure Valley effort took on the task of increasing the number of MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) providers in the valley. They helped drive an initial training that signed up 34 new MAT providers. Additional trainings in the Treasure Valley and throughout the State are planned.