Submitted By The Hartford Community Coalition
Hartford Community Coalition (HCC) is a collaborative group of citizens designed to support and promote the wellness of individuals and families in Hartford, Vermont. This year, we received a grant as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which allowed us to focus on preventing the opioid epidemic’s reach in our community.
A major part of implementing the Cures grant was to hire a part-time addiction prevention coordinator, who could focus on outreach and education on substance misuse prevention. Shortly after signing on with the HCC, our coordinator participated in the Vermont Department of Health’s Understanding Opiate Addiction Workshop at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center. Also, this past spring, we sent her, as well as two other coalition members—a social worker from the Hartford Police Department and a Community Health Partnership Coordinator from DHMC—to the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta. There, our representatives learned the latest in topics such as prevention messaging, research on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), and the developing role of recovery coaches.
Ways to Dispose of Unused Medications
For the past six months, the HCC has continued to work with community stakeholders to reduce substance misuse in Hartford: we’ve distributed Vermont Department of Health Twin State Safe Meds information to our local senior center, pharmacy, doctors’ offices, and libraries. In addition, we created an informational flyer about local mental health practitioners who accept Medicaid, so cost won’t be an issue to those seeking treatment. We also dispensed prescription drug lockboxes at Town Hall meetings and at our annual community block party on June 6.
We’ve used social media and the Hartford Town List Serv to share Twin State Safe Meds information as well as to provide reminders about Hartford Police Department’s drop box for unused prescription medications. We were able to increase visibility for the 2018 National Drug Take Back Day on April 28 through blog and Facebook posts, by placing flyers throughout the community, and by publishing a letter to the editor of the Valley News. On National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, we worked with the Hartford Police Department to host our first two Take Back Day events at the town libraries in Quechee and Wilder to increase access to safe disposal of unused or expired medication. From these efforts, the Hartford Police Department has collected 172 pounds of unused prescription drugs since March.
HCC facilitates monthly substance misuse and mental health subcommittee meetings, and sends our Hartford liaison to monthly meetings of Green Peak Alliance (formerly Windsor County Prevention Partners), a collaboration of substance abuse prevention coalitions that includes, Windsor, Windham, and Orange counties. We believe we’re making a difference, and we’re grateful to the Cures grant for giving hope to our community.