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Overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50, the impacts of which are being felt in every region of the country in both rural and urban places.  Most of these fatalities are tied to heroin or prescription painkillers.  In addition to loss of life, the societal costs of the crisis in the form of direct healthcare costs, lost productivity, and costs related to criminal justice are estimated to be as high as $78 billion.  In many states, universities within the Land Grant system are responding to the crisis.  However, the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) believes that a coordinated Land Grant effort could provide a more comprehensive and impactful strategy for addressing the ongoing crisis.

The Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup (EOCRW) was given a charge from the Extension Committee on Operations and Policy (ECOP) to identify and assemble resources to help Extension play a stronger and more strategic role in addressing the opioid crisis, and more generally behavioral health challenges that emerge over time. This website provides useful information to help the Land Grant Extension system play a larger role in helping to address the crisis.

This resource provides information about:

  • EOCRW
  • the findings of a nationwide survey of Extension Behavioral Health programming
  • an extensive literature review on opioids and substance abuse
  • links to potential partners, networks, and grant opportunities
  • and the Extension Opioid Response Strategic Plan Report.

A companion eFieldbook is also available. The First Edition eFieldbook for the eXtension Impact Collaborative Summit of October 2018 was designed to support IC Summit participants, and is intended to be a tool that can provide a bridge of information through program development and evaluation. The current edition of the eFieldbook will remain live through December 2018 to take in feedback, suggested resources, and questions to the organizing committee. After December 2018, a second edition of the eFieldbook will be developed in preparation for the April 2019 Impact Collaborative Summit.