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The Opioid-overdose Reduction Continuum of Care Approach (ORCCA): Evidence-based practices in the HEALing Communities Study

Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence – 2020

Theresa Winhusen, Alexander Walley, Laura C. Fanucchi, Tim Hunt, Mike Lyons, Michelle Lofwall, Jennifer L. Brown, Patricia R. Freeman, Edward Nunes, Donna Beers, Richard Saitz, Leyla Stambaugh, Emmanuel A. Oga, Nicole Herron, Trevor Baker, Christopher D. Cook, Monica F. Roberts, Daniel P. Alford, Joanna L. Starrels, Redonna K. Chandler

Background: The number of opioid-involved overdose deaths in the United States remains a national crisis. The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) will test whether Communities That HEAL (CTH), a community-engaged intervention, can decrease opioid-involved deaths in intervention communities (n = 33), relative to wait-list communities (n = 34), from four states. The CTH intervention seeks to facilitate widespread implementation of three evidence-based practices (EBPs) with the potential to reduce opioid-involved overdose fatalities: overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND), effective delivery of medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD), and safer opioid analgesic prescribing. A key challenge was delineating an EBP implementation
approach useful for all HCS communities.

Methods: A workgroup composed of EBP experts from HCS research sites used literature reviews and expert consensus to: 1) compile strategies and associated resources for implementing EBPs primarily targeting individuals 18 and older; and 2) determine allowable community flexibility in EBP implementation. The workgroup developed the Opioid-overdose Reduction Continuum of Care Approach (ORCCA) to organize EBP strategies and resources to facilitate EBP implementation.

Conclusions: The ORCCA includes required and recommended EBP strategies, priority populations, and community settings. Each EBP has a “menu” of strategies from which communities can select and implement with a minimum of five strategies required: one for OEND, three for MOUD, and one for prescription opioid safety. Identification and engagement of high-risk populations in OEND and MOUD is an ORCCA requirement. To ensure CTH has community-wide impact, implementation of at least one EBP strategy is required in healthcare, behavioral health, and criminal justice settings, with communities identifying particular organizations to engage in HCS-facilitated EBP implementation.

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