• Baseline Assessment: Alaska's Capacity and Infrastructure for Prescription Opioid Misuse Prevention

      Elkins, Amanda; Barnett, Jodi; Hanson, Bridget; Smith, Oliver (Center for Behavioral Health Research & Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-08-01)
      The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) was awarded the Partnerships for Success (PFS) grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHMSA) in 2015. DBH contracted with the Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services (CBHRS) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) to conduct a comprehensive project evaluation. As part of the evaluation, CBHRS performed a baseline assessment of the state’s capacity and infrastructure related to prescription opioid misuse prevention. Researchers conducted interviews with key stakeholders representing state government, healthcare agencies, law enforcement, substance abuse research, and service agencies. Interviews were semistructured, with questions addressing five domains of interest: (1) state climate and prevention efforts; (2) partnerships and coordinated efforts; (3) policies, practices, and laws; (4) data and data monitoring; and (5) knowledge and readiness. Thirteen interviews were conducted and analyzed using a qualitative template analysis technique combined with a SWOT analysis (i.e. strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Emergent themes are displayed in Table 1 below. Table 1. Emergent themes from SWOT analysis Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (1) New and revised policies and guidelines (2) Activities and partnerships between state agencies and communities (3) Knowledge and awareness of state leadership (1) State policy limitations (2) Insufficient detox, treatment, and recovery support resources (3) Lack of full coordination within state agencies and with communities (1) Education enrichment (2) Policy improvements (3) Expansion of treatment, recovery, and mental health support (1) State fiscal crisis (2) Prescribing practices (3) Complexity and stigma of addiction (4) Legislative support Despite limitations in sample representativeness and interview timing, participants agreed that agencies, communities, and organizations across Alaska have demonstrated great concern about the opioid epidemic and that this concern has translated into considerable efforts to address and prevent opioid misuse. Participants also noted a variety of opportunities as targets for future work, many of which would address some of the current weaknesses that exist. Results yielded clear recommendations for increasing awareness and providing education to a variety of groups, further improving relevant policies to promote prevention, and expanding services for prevention and treatment.