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Drug abuse fighters get training

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

The effort to fight drug abuse in Fayette County has attracted help from Purdue University’s Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering.

A team from the center spent time in the city Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at The Ha*ven, training in an approach called Strategic Doing. It included representatives involved in youth work, healthcare, treatment and law enforcement from the Fayette County Drug Coalition.

The center received $1.1 million from the Healthier Nation Initiative of the U.S. Office of Minority Health to provide three years of guidance and technical support to Fayette County. The county has been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic.

Strategic Doing encourages getting people involved with specific tasks in a specific time frame to deliver a result.

Scott Hutcheson and Tatlin Resetich, both from the Regenstrief Center, led the training and will be managing the program.

While the grant specifies the county’s opioid epidemic, the area’s drug of choice has switched to methamphetamine in the past several months, police say.

Hutcheson said that kind of change is often the case from the time a grant is written and when implementation begins. In this case, the same players are involved and the dynamics of addiction are the same. The training most certainly can be applied to meth.

Strategic Doing is geared to helping organizations increase the productivity of their work together.

“Collaboration is a complex phenomena in and of itself, so we focus on the science and practice of collaboration, specifically complex collaboration,” he said. “It is a set of tools the community partners will be able to use for this and in lots of other ways too, we hope.”

The training desires to make the individuals involved more innovative and efficient, to think more creatively and to move towards shared action more quickly, Hutcheson said.

The Strategic Doing piece is the hub of the effort to get people to come together as a team to accomplish the goals of reducing the number of prescription opioids and increase the availability and access to treatment, Resetich said.

Components of the plan like prescriber training, pharmacy instruction, motivational interviewing, capacity building and process improvement will come together to work on the drug issue, she said. More people will join the effort as it moves along.

The first year involves collaboration and prescriber training. Those will continue but next year will move into other efforts like motivational interviewing and pharmacy instruction, she said.

At the end of the three years of Regenstrief involvement, Resetich said the goal is to see a reduction in fatalities from substance abuse, reduction in the number of prescriptions written for opioids and more of those who have opioid abuse disorder will be able to access and enter treatment facilities.

Purdue has been working in different communities on the opioid issue. This is the first location where the specific resources are being brought together and merging them in the community, she said. 

“Hopefully these skill sets can carry over to whatever issues are at hand,” she added.

Named for the Connersville industrialist Sam Regenstrief, the Regenstrief Center brings together researchers and practitioners from multiple disciplines to collaboratively improve healthcare delivery and empower individuals to live their highest quality of life.