For an as-yet undetermined period, members of coalitions represented in the organization Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) will have free access to an online course designed to enhance their response to prescription drug abuse in their communities.
CADCA has been offering members of community anti-drug coalitions training on prescription drug abuse prevention for some time, but the association sees the establishment of an online course as a vehicle for reaching more individuals at the community level. The new online training is designed in accordance with the strategic prevention and community problem solving framework that is traditionally employed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute.
CADCA’s chairman and CEO, Gen. Arthur T. Dean, said in an interview with Addiction Professional this week that community leaders often struggle to issue an effective response to a drug abuse problem that trails only marijuana in the extent of its presence. “It becomes a little more challenging because these are legal substances with legitimate medical purposes, and they are very available,” says Dean.
The course is being made available through an educational grant from Purdue Pharma, LP, maker of the drug OxyContin. Dean says CADCA has worked on similar initiatives with the drug maker in the past and has experienced good relations and no constraints on its programming. Yet he admits that in an organization as large as CADCA there certainly are some individuals who would prefer that the association not work directly with a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
“We’ve concluded that these organizations, and Purdue Pharma is just one of them, have a responsibility to assist communities to prepare themselves to address the problems associated with these medications,” says Dean.
The online course is made up of 10 modules that guide coalition members through the entire process of identifying the problem in their community, building capacity to address it, planning prevention strategies, and evaluating community-level change.
The entire course, which prepares individuals to engage in prevention efforts targeting both youths and adults, can be completed in four to five hours, Dean says. The course was beta-tested in July at CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute.