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 PROSPER Ohio 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 alcohol. The partners formed the PROSPER Ohio team, and are working together to implement PROSPER in ten counties across the state: nine rural counties (Hardin, Paulding, Vinton, Brown, Greene, Pike, Perry, Monroe and Washington) and one urban county (Franklin). PROSPER Ohio’s mission is to strengthen communities, schools and families through programs and classes that emphasize education,
Community support and engagement are vital to the success of PROSPER Ohio. Community Teams in each of the counties work together to plan and implement PROSPER Ohio programming and events. Each county will implement Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10 – 14® groups/classes, and Botvin LifeSkills® Training in 7th grade classes in a select school district in each county. In addition, community members will be invited to learn about medication safety at Generation Rx® classes, and how to understand, identify and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders at Mental Health First Aid®, and Youth Mental Health First Aid® classes.