Community members interact at the “Planning to Take Action against Opioids in Your Community” workshop on Sept. 12. The workshop aimed to equip community members with the tools to combat opioid addiction.

Opioid prevention workshop draws 120 community leaders from 30 Iowa counties

AMES, Iowa — One hundred and twenty community leaders from 30 Iowa counties — including mayors, legislative staffers, health agency leaders, and court administrators — attended the “Planning to Take Action against Opioids in Your Community” workshop,  on Wednesday, September 12, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

Participants were equipped with community toolkits to assist them in reaching various age groups with substance misuse prevention programming. 

The workshop was hosted by the Iowa State University PROSPER Rx project and supported by a Rural Health and Safety Education grant from the USDA’s National Institute on Food and Agriculture as well as the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center.

“PROSPER” stands for “PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience,” an evidence-based prevention model developed at Iowa State that has been shown to lower rates of substance misuse – including misuse of prescription opioids – among rural youth and young adults.

The PROSPER delivery system links the USDA Extension and Outreach System with public schools and community-based teams to impact risk and protective factors known to influence substance abuse.

Building capacity to combat and prevent opioid misuse is an aim of the PROSPER Rx project at Iowa State, directed by Lisa Schainker, a scientist at the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State. The project is helping community partners build networks — and will provide coaching support to increase the capacity of Extension and Outreach professionals to build and maintain community prevention systems to combat the opioid epidemic.