Greg interviews Katie Park, the Ashtabula County Prevention Coalition Coordinator, as well as two clinical supervisors – Matt Butler from Community Counseling and Jennifer Simpson from Signature Health. Katie, Matt, and Jennifer have been working within Ashtabula County to help treat those affected by the opioid epidemic.

Greg asks Katie, Matt, and Jennifer about the programs they are utilizing in Ashtabula to help those fighting substance abuse disorder. Katie explains that the focus of the Prevention Coalition is to increase awareness and decrease stigma through educational programs. “We try to offer a lot of training… to community groups, to parents, [to schools]… We work with University Hospitals, which is a large hospital system in Ashtabula County. They offer the Botvin LifeSkills program… that doesn’t just focus on substance abuse, but focuses on making good choices, making friends, having self-esteem. It talks about advertising, how you can’t always believe what you hear… It is one of the strongest evidence based programs for our youth.” However, awareness and decreasing stigma are not the only focus of the Ashtabula programs, as Matt states. They also work towards prevention and treatment. “[The Prevention Coalition has had] a very successful opiate summit for five years and this year we’ve rebranded it as Operation: PART (Prevention, Awareness, Recovery &Treatment) – because we think that they all have a role to play. It’s easy to say awareness is where it’s at and we just need to make everybody aware of the situation and tackle the stigma, but we need to look at prevention on the front-end of things and we need to look into the treatment of things. We also need to emphasize the fact that recovery is possible and recovery oriented lifestyles are all around us all the time.”

Listen to the podcast to discover how the Prevention Coalition is evaluating actual data from their community and using it to develop strategies to better educate, prevent, and treat those hit by the opioid crisis in Ashtabula.