HELPING COMMUNITIES DEVELOP AND TEST INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
TO COUNTER THE OPIOID AND STIMULANTS CRISIS
Communities throughout the United States are grappling with the unprecedented harms of opioid and stimulant misuse. In 2018 alone, over 67,000 people died of drug overdoses. While overdose deaths caused by the original drivers of the opioid epidemic, prescription opioids and heroin, have slowed since 2015, deaths caused by the synthetic narcotic fentanyl have soared, more than doubling in the past five years. And it seems clear that a stimulant epidemic is following in the wake of the opioid epidemic: overdose deaths caused by cocaine and methamphetamine continue to rise, as they have for the past decade.
Overdose deaths are just the most visible and tragic outcomes; this crisis affects people living with opioid use disorder and those in recovery, undermines families and communities, strains first responders, and burdens healthcare, criminal justice, and social welfare systems.
We need solutions now. Fortunately, communities and the agencies that serve them are full of good ideas. From enhanced engagement with users and families to telemedicine and virtual-treatment options, communities understand the problems and are generating creative answers.
The federal government has recognized the potential value of local responses. In 2017, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) launched the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program (COAP), which supports innovative programs run by state and local agencies at nearly 300 sites nationwide. In 2020, BJA created the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP)—now known as COSSUP—to address the danger posed by a wider range of drugs. Other federal programs, such as the Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) Initiative, which promotes collaborative problem solving in corrections and supervision settings using data-informed strategies, have pivoted to respond to the present crises. In all, the federal government now spends nearly $30 billion combating substance misuse.
New York University’s COSSUP Collaborative is a group of practitioners and researchers from across the country who have teamed up to stem the tide of opioid and stimulant misuse in their communities. Hosted by the NYU Marron Institute’s Litmus Program, the Collaborative has worked with agencies and community-based organizations to fund, design, expand, and evaluate promising practitioner-led programs. Our programs are diverse; we work with police, corrections, community supervision, and courts to test unique, stakeholder-designed interventions. But we recognize the importance of a community of practice where we can share successes and failures and learn from both together.
We are making progress. As more community partners join our coalition, we will have more ideas to test and more places to test them, increasing our opportunities to find solutions. We invite you to join our effort.
We are always looking for more opportunities to partner and address opioid issues. To get in touch and learn more, please use the contact form below.
New York University
370 Jay Street, 12th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201