In the midst of what many are calling a national crisis, Vancouver-based Prevent Coalition was awarded a $100,000 Opioid Prevention Grant from the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR). The one-year grant will provide funding for opioid prevention in Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties.

With support from this grant, Prevent Coalition will focus on two main strategies of prevention. The first is to expand their already successful Drug Take Back events, which have collected over 15,600 pounds of unused and unwanted pills in the last seven years. The coalition will be building capacity to hold biannual Drug Take Backs in Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties. The second is to create a comprehensive social marketing campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of opioid and prescription drug misuse and abuse and motivate the community to secure and dispose of their prescription medications safely.

“Every day, more than 90 Americans die after overdosing on opioids,” said Joy Lyons, Prevention Intervention Coordinator for Prevent Coalition. “We are excited to work collaboratively with coalitions in the tri-county region and use this grant to work toward lowering that number.”

In support of their grant application, Prevent Coalition received letters from the following coalitions: Connect Evergreen, West Van for Youth, One Prevention Alliance, Our Klickitat, STASHA, Prevent Together, and Unite! Washougal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.