Locally and nationally, opioid use disorder has increased to epidemic levels. In 2015, more than 52,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, over 63% of which involving an opioid. Also in 2015, opioid-related overdoses in Vermont eclipsed car crash fatalities by 31 percent. On average, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The social and economic costs of substance use disorder reach into every corner of our community.
In January 2016, a group of state and community partners recognized that multiple uncoordinated efforts existed to address the complex causes and effects of the opioid epidemic. By organizing those efforts using a Collective Impact framework and shared agenda, the partners began collaborating more effectively and formed the Chittenden County Opioid Alliance (CCOA). The CCOA is comprised of committed partners from many sectors including businesses, non-profit agencies, government, and community members. The CCOA envisions a substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery system of care that is timely, coordinated and comprehensive.
Alliance members have divided into Action Teams with goals that reflect their specific expertise: Treatment Access and Recovery Supports; Community-level Prevention; Workforce Development and CommStat (data driven coordination of law enforcement and human service agencies). Data is aggregated across partners, as well as through the work of the Action Teams. This dashboard serves to keep community members informed about the progress being made by the Alliance, as well as the climate of opioid use in Chittenden County.
You can read more about the Alliance on the CCOA website.
One of the main tenets of the CCOA is to provide accurate and timely data to the citizens of Chittenden County to help support and inform community conversations. By providing transparency and clarity about what is actually occurring in our community, the Alliance hopes to maintain a high level of accountability to the citizens it serves, as well as creating a foundation of information for those who want to become involved in supporting activities.
The key indicators noted in this section are sourced from a number of government and non-profit Alliance partners, including:
- The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner through the Vermont Department of Health
- The Emergency Preparedness, Response & Injury Prevention Division of the Vermont Department of Health
- The Howard Center (Chittenden County Hub)
- The Department of Vermont Health Access (Vermont Blueprint for Health)
As the partnerships continue to strengthen, new key indicators may be added and existing indicators may be honed to provide more granularity.