United Against Opioid Abuse Initiative

United Ways of Indiana are leveraging AmeriCorps members in a program to fight the opioid crisis in ten counties throughout the state, of which Porter County is one. Opioids are highly addictive substances derived from opium, which can include morphine, heroin or prescription pain pills.

United Way of Porter County is making this investment because we have seen a rise in opioid abuse and the fatalities and the societal affects from them. Poisonings are now the leading cause of death in Indiana and drug overdoses are 90% of those deaths. From 2015 to 2016, Porter County saw a 45% rise in opioid drug-related deaths and 134% increase of non-fatal opioid overdose visits to the emergency room.

This initiative is aimed to better understand the issues facing addicts and their families, the resources available, and how to engage the community in the solution. The program coordinator is charged with being a resource to partners, coalitions and stakeholders already working in this field. They will also facilitate the following aspects:

  • Landscape Scan – This will establish baseline outcomes by gathering public knowledge about opioid abuse. This will be a compilation of data and community input through conversation. The scan will allow stakeholders to confirm or adjust their shared understanding of the problem within our local context. The baselines established in this report will allow the community to track future progress.
  • Asset Map – Based on the landscape scan, information on existing resources and services will be mapped to document what efforts are currently in place. Once complete, the map will be a discussion and decision-making tool for stakeholders to utilize in the prioritization of needs.

The biggest community and stakeholder components are to provide continual feedback, participate in discussion, and assist with information refinement to meet the community needs. Our community and its future depends on us working with our many partners to create a solution pathway.

United Way of Porter County seeks to find a space of need and create long-term collaboration within this issue. Program outcomes will be shared with stakeholders and the community. We look forward to including you in the fight.

For more information and to be part of the change, contact Cara Jones at cara@unitedwaypc.org or call 219.464.3583 x129.