|Brookings Institute map|
Today I found this article, with a title of "A Nation in Overdose Peril: Pinpointing the Most Impacted Communities and the local gaps in care".
The article shows where this crisis is most severe, where it is growing and also talks about lack of prevention and treatment non-profits in many of the areas that have the greatest need. If I had ever had a research institute to help me do the work I've been doing to identify where youth tutor/mentor programs are most needed, and where existing programs exist, my stories might have looked very much like this one.
Thus, I posted a comment on Facebook with the goal that some folks working with public health issues might be interested in what I've been doing for the past 23 years.
I decided to post that comment here, with more detail.
Based on this article I have two comments/requests. First, have you produced a concept map/visualization showing the different treatments and prevention services that are available in some communities but not in others?
This link points to the cMap below, showing supports kids in poverty need to move from first grade to a job. http://tinyurl.com/TMI-K-CareerMentoring
My map starts at the left, pointing to pre-school, then moves from elementary school, to middle school, high school, college/vocational school, then jobs and careers. That's a 20-30 year journey for every youth. Those living in high poverty have less support, thus non-school volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs are a valuable resource.
I feel that a similar map could show a time line of first exposure to potential drug abuse and the causes of addiction, to a later stage where a person is heavily addicted and needed specialized treatments. At the right end of the time like could be the post addition recovery stages, showing supports still needed.
At each stage having the appropriate supports and treatment could make a huge difference.
The information the Brookings Institute is collecting to produce this article could be organized into a web library sorted by the categories on the concept map, making these resources available to every community in the country/world.
Program Locator pilot which was built in 2008.
The maps force leaders to think of all the places where help is needed. Without mapping resource providers you could fill a stadium with people doing this work and still not be reaching most places where help is needed.
With this information people concerned with the problem could begin a marketing campaign intended to help existing providers continue to provide services while helping others build new service distribution points, borrowing from what is working in other places. If someone is doing this please share the links.
Using the information you collect in a campaign intended to draw resources to the areas where extra help is needed is the 4-part strategy the Tutor/Mentor Connection developed in 1994 and has been using since then (since 2011 as part of Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC). Just showing where the program is located, and talking about some causes is only part of what needs to be happening.
If some is interested in talking more about what I've just suggested,I'll post this on my blog and look forward to connecting.
Update: 10-27-17- Here's a link to a Jan 2016 New York Times story with maps showing drug overdose deaths each year since 1999.
Update: 10-12-18 - Here's useful article in USNews about the challenges of solving the opioid epidemic.
Update: 10-25-18- America's 150 Year Opioid Epidemic - NY Times article click here