Health Care & Medical Resources
The places where people live, work and go to school can greatly influence the health of community members. Health care provider s — working alongside residents, community coalitions, businesses and other leaders — can make their communities healthier by addressing substance use issues and advocating for strong prevention programs in their communities and schools.
What Can Health Care Professionals Do to Support Drug-Free Communities?
Community Health Centers
Emergency Medical Services
Medical Examiner or Coroner’s Office
Poison Control Centers
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
Primary Care Organizations
Visiting Nurses Associations
- Get informed about the scope of the substance use problem in your community.
Health professionals are well aware of the problems that confront their communities, but may not be familiar with how alcohol and other drug use effects local residents.
Click below to see statistics for youth in your school district http://healthvermont.gov/research/yrbs/2013/district_results.aspx
Find statistics for adults in your region/community:
Information on risk behaviors in Vermont including alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug use from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system. Reported by each Health Department District Office region.
Substance Abuse Treatment data for all ages, gender, county & substances
Your local community coalition or Prevention Consultant can present to your organization about the substance use issues in the community. Coalition Map
- Support community efforts to prevent substance use and community activities that promote healthy behaviors – join your local community coalition or start one! Coalition Map
- Utilize existing health promotion and prevention programs/patient education to educate youth and adults about the risks of drug abuse (including prescription misuse) and excessive drinking.
- Some organizations include articles and notices in organization newsletters, on partner websites and in advertising.
- Talk to teen patients and their families about drug-taking behaviors, especially with those who show signs of being at risk for misusing or abusing drugs.
- Turn your waiting room into an area that promotes prevention and drug-free lifestyles. Include information about your local community coalition and local parenting classes.
- Help identify Rx drug abuse and help teens and their parents recognize any problems early on.
- Monitor drug trends in your field and provide critical substance use data on emerging drug trends (including changes in substance use patterns and substance-related overdoses) to your local community coalition.
- Utilize injury prevention centers to promote substance abuse prevention because of the high correlation between substance abuse and preventable injuries.
- Increase awareness on the proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.
- Visits to primary care clinicians provide excellent opportunities to intervene with substance abuse problems at a relatively early stage in disease progression.
- Include discussion of substance abuse as a part of routine health care and as part of ongoing anticipatory guidance. The CRAFFT screen is a valid, reliable, and developmentally appropriate tool for accomplishing the recommended yearly screening, and teens who screen positive can be referred for comprehensive evaluation and treatment.
- Identify and screen patients for excessive drinking using SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention Referral Treatment) http://sbirt.vermont.gov/
- Share information about prevention with parents, especially new parents.
- Identify, track, and prevent inappropriate patterns of prescribing and use of prescription drugs and integrate prescription drug monitoring into electronic health record systems.
- Develop and adopt evidence-based guidelines for prescribing opioids in emergency departments, including restrictions on the use of long-acting or extended-release opioids for acute pain.
- Train prescribers on safe opioid prescription practices and institute accountability mechanisms to ensure compliance. For example, the use of long-acting opioids for acute pain or in opioid-naïve patients could be minimized.
If there is not a location near you, consider creating one in partnership with your local police department or Sheriff’s Office.
- Consider prevention strategies to minimize problems on high-risk holidays (for example New Years Eve, 4th of July and Halloween). Some communities have extra law enforcement on patrol, host substance-free events as an alternative and request traffic stops/sobriety check points.
- Support local prevention efforts with financial, human, or in-kind resources.
- Allocate Affordable Care Act and other federal promotion and prevention funds to support community-based prevention programming.
Commonly Abused Drugs and their Health Risks
Drugs That People Abuse – easy to read
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
Marijuana Abuse – Explores the latest research on marijuana, including the scope of marijuana use in the U.S., health consequences, its effects on every-day activities, available treatments.