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EPIC Proportions (Environmental Prevention Impacts Communities)

Erie County, PA
Program Year: 2019

Abstract:
We combat “epic levels” of Opioid use, with “EPIC” outreach. (Environmental Prevention Impacts Communities). The EPIC program is a unique, replicable and innovative approach that began here in September 2017, from a critical need to bring youth and adults together to focus on Opioids. This filled a gap in services by using “intergenerational approaches” to reduce Opioid consequences and death. EPIC teams have now replicated in 10 school districts in rural, urban and suburban areas, with support from faith communities, civic organizations and law enforcement. EPIC teams practice leadership and advocacy strategies for changing norms, practices and policies. Teams identify prevention strategies and outcomes used in the PA WITS System, (Web Infrastructure for Technology Systems). EPIC teams gave 300 Narcan Kits/trainings and provided 5,000 Safe Disposal Bags to destroy unwanted/expired medications in homes. EPIC also worked with the Attorney General’s office, providing presentations to 4,000 senior citizens on Opioid Use, Elder Scams and to 3,000 students for Digital Citizenship, (Cyber Security.) EPIC’s university partnerships provide competitive student opportunities to have their artwork published for billboard campaigns, such as “Project: What a DRxAG,” whereby 30 Opioid billboards have already been posted. With “Project: Comfort,” 75 residents and college students have come together to sew patchwork quilts for addicts, while sharing Opioid stories. “Project: Prevention on Wheels” provides “Kids’ Prevention Camps” held at colleges and YMCA’s for EPIC teams providing drug prevention education and teambuilding to 500 youth. “Project: Act/Interact” involves students from 4 universities as mentors for youth activities such as mock drug trials, puppeteering. “Project: Homefront” replicated in 5 school districts for parents/kids to come to schools in the evenings to “learn how to talk to their kids about drugs/Opioids.” “Project: Goal Time” has already produced partnerships with ice hockey and baseball teams for “prevention awareness” nights for 1,000 families. In 2017 drug related overdose deaths rose to an all-time high of 124 people who died from drugs in 2017. In 2018, 82 people died from drug related deaths, 42 fewer deaths or a 34% decrease! We believe this to be a sign that the county collaborations described above have really helped to address the problem of opioid use in our county.

Contact:
Mr. Dave Sanner
Director, Office of D&A Abuse