In 2018, The Ohio State University embarked on a new initiative to combat the opioid and substance misuse epidemic that is plaguing the state. Initially, our group worked with 9 counties to implement the PROSPER delivery system, an evidence-based model that has proven successful for nearly two decades in eight states across the country, originating from Iowa State University.
Since then, our work has evolved and expanded to 12 counties and 15 schools. We have engaged Community Teams in all 12 counties and hundreds of community members that work together to support prevention initiatives. The Ohio Youth Resilience Collaborative offers infrastructure and technical assistance for a menu of prevention programs. One distinguishing feature of OYRC is that the effort is supported in the community so that it can be sustained year after year.
For more than 100 years Ohio State University Extension has worked throughout every county in Ohio to promote strong and healthy communities and families, focusing on critical leadership, youth, family and environmental issues. One increasingly critical issue facing Ohio is the opioid and substance misuse epidemic. In January 2017, OSU Extension held A Campus Conversation on the Opioid Crisis to develop a plan to coordinate the efforts of the many organizations, colleges and programs working to address opioid addiction in communities across Ohio. It was there that the seeds of the Ohio Youth Resilience Collaborative were first planted. The next step was identifying collaborators within The Ohio State University and securing funding for the project.
In 2018, OSU Extension and the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences received a grant from the United State Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the College of Public Health received a grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the College of Education and Human Ecology received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Each of the grant recipients were tasked with providing education and resources to communities throughout Ohio to address the impacts of the opioid crisis, to strengthen youth and families, and to encourage them not to misuse medication or substances like illicit drugs or alcohol. The partners formed the PROSPER Ohio team, and began working together to implement PROSPER in ten counties across the state: nine rural counties and one urban county. Our team’s mission has always been to strengthen communities, schools and families through programs and classes that emphasize education. Now, nearly three years later, the Ohio Youth Resilience Collaborative has been created to further our reach to Ohioans across the state.
Community support and engagement are vital to the success of the Ohio Youth Resilience Collaborative. Community Teams in each of the counties work together to plan and implement prevention programming and events. Each county can choose from a menu of evidence-based programs to implement, including the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10 – 14® , Botvin LifeSkills® Training, Generation Rx®, Trauma-Informed Care, and Mental Health First Aid®, and Youth Mental Health First Aid®.