West Palm Beach, Florida—Local leaders from non-profits, for profits and government have come together to turbocharge a collaborative system in Palm Beach County to combat the opioid crisis. With the help of the Rapid Results Institute (RRI), these partners launched a 100-Day Challenge on February 2 to attain significant results toward the implementation of this recovery system. A key component of the 100-Day Challenge will include establishing a centralized database of scholarship beds and treatment to help expand the capacity of treatment and residential beds for indigent consumers within Palm Beach County.
Opioid overdoses and deaths have been devastating families and communities across the country. Those in the throes of addiction or cycling between treatment and addiction are straining community resources. Last year the local Heroin Task Force identified the need to increase access to and strengthen evidence-based addiction treatment and recovery support services, as well as the need to take steps to enhance prevention and early intervention efforts. Building off the efforts of both the Sober Home Task Force and the Heroin Task Force, the 100-Day Challenge is a unique approach to begin turning the tide on the opioid epidemic.
Over the past three years, Palm Beach County has become an epicenter in the state for the deadly opioid crisis, with the number of opioid-related overdose deaths hitting epidemic proportions in 2016 - 571 lives lost, a 110% increase from the previous year. Unfortunately, the upward trend continues; according to a February 2018 report, the county recorded nearly 600 fatal overdoses in 2017.
In response to this crisis, Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network (SEFBHN) partnered with Palm Healthcare Foundation, Hanley Foundation and the Town of Palm Beach United Way to bring in the Rapid Results Institute to Palm Beach County. This institute is an international non-profit organization that pioneered the use of 100-Day Challenges and the Rapid Results Approach to help organizations and communities solve tough societal problems. The Institute has introduced the Rapid Results Approach in more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, working with governments on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS prevention to community development to agricultural productivity. In the United States, RRI has been instrumental in groundbreaking work to combat chronic and veteran homelessness, including the success of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign.
Patrick McNamara, President and CEO of Palm Healthcare Foundation, praised the efforts of SEFBHN for spearheading this unique partnership between RRI and Palm Beach County system partners. “As the managing entity, SEFBHN has demonstrated bold leadership in the fight against the opioid crisis. We’re fortunate to have a partner that is willing to step up and support the numerous recovery assets in the county to work together in saving more lives.”
This collaborative effort crosses major sectors, i.e. government, non-profit, and for-profit, that have previously been fragmented and overwhelmed by the crisis. Drawing from a pool of local talented and dedicated professionals, the effort involves more than 80 individuals including care navigators, treatment centers, certified recovery residences, hospital representatives, law enforcement, first responders, and peer specialists in the recovery field.
Jennifer Napolitano, owner and operator of a certified recovery residence, is one of the passionate members of the 100-Day Challenge. “Palm Beach County is fortunate to have an abundance of committed professionals in the recovery field. The past several years has seen an influx of dangerous groups fleecing the system. This 100-Day Challenge is bringing together the best and most dedicated providers in the field to provide quality care.”
The statewide effort to clean up problematic sober homes has been led by the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR). They are an active participant in the 100-Day Challenge to promote the use of certified recovery residences in place of unregulated sober homes.
100-Day Challenge team members examined the current system and identified critical points in which an individual may fall through the gaps of service. They also strategized and set goals on ways to strengthen entry points into patient care for those battling addiction. For example, peer specialists participating in the challenge will be located at four local hospitals to engage those brought to the ER after an overdose. In addition, recovery navigators will be linked to individuals exiting treatment centers to prevent relapse and support their continued recovery at certified residences. The team came up with the following overarching goal for the challenge:
We will have an operational system that actually connects anyone with opioid use disorder to appropriate services, including medication assisted treatment, at 15 participating treatment centers and 25 FARR-Certified Recovery Residences with proper support and/or recovery navigators. We will use this system to serve 125 persons from this population in the next 100 days, indicating an improvement in linkage to services and increased engagement.
If the effort is as successful as the team believes it can be it will be important to solidify the gains and identify the means to continue to support the work. “SEFBHN was given a one-time appropriation from the state legislature to creatively address the opioid epidemic. We want to demonstrate that we have been excellent stewards and get results, so that we can be entrusted with further resources to build on the momentum generated by the 100-Day Challenge,” said Ann Berner, President & CEO, Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network.
“Hanley Foundation is honored to be partnering with Palm Healthcare Foundation and SEFBHN to support this important step to combat the opioid epidemic in our community,” said Jan Cairnes, CEO of Hanley Foundation. “Access to quality treatment is a pillar of our mission, so we know how important it is to make sure those battling addiction are connected to the right resources and have support through the entire process. We look forward to helping our partners reach the Challenge’s goal of assisting 125 people in need of these critical services.”
To encourage philanthropic support from the private sector, Palm Healthcare Foundation collaborated with local donors to establish the Stuart Jackson Memorial Fund. Donations to this fund will support programs and services that advance the work of the 100-Day Challenge.
About Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc.
Palm Healthcare Foundation is Palm Beach County’s community foundation for health. With the support of donors and a focus on results, the foundation builds strong community partnerships, respects diverse opinions, advocates for its most vulnerable neighbors and inspires innovative solutions to lead change for better health now and for generations to come. Palm Healthcare Foundation has invested $75 million dollars in Palm Beach County health since 2001. For more information about Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc., visit palmhealthcare.org or call (561) 833-6333.
About Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network
Our mission is a seamless, accessible, recovery-oriented system of behavioral healthcare driven by consumers, providers and other stakeholders, in which innovation and collaboration are the norm and diversified financial resources comfortably support an array of prevention and treatment practices leading to excellent outcomes for individuals served, providers and the community.
About Hanley Foundation
Established more than 30 years ago by Mary Jane and Jack Hanley, Hanley Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides programming and grant support for statewide substance use disorder advocacy, prevention, education, and access to quality treatment. The Hanley Foundation has changed the conversation surrounding substance use disorders, their prevention, and their treatment. For more information about Hanley Foundation, or to request free prevention programming for a school, church or youth group, please visit www.hanleyfoundation.org or call 561-268-2355.
About the 100-Day Challenge
The Rapid Results 100-Day Challenge brings together local stakeholders to achieve ambitious results in a short period of time. Local leaders identify a key area where they would like to see progress, aka “a challenge,” and they build a team made up of individuals from a variety of organizations involved in direct service delivery to work on this challenge for 100 days. The team sets their own ambitious 100-Day Goal and then must experiment and innovate throughout the 100 days in order to achieve unprecedented results. 100-Day Challenges require courage, commitment, a willingness to experiment and fail, an openness to evolve and change, and a hunger for results.