New Online Tool to Help Communities Respond to the Opioid Crisis, with COVID-19-related Resources

July 08, 2020

By Hillary Richards

A new comprehensive online resource for communities and local leaders addressing the opioid crisis is now available from the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative. The Brandeis Opioid Resource Connector (BORC) website (opioid-resource-connector.org) offers stakeholders more than 150 community-based program models across the continuum of care, which can serve as models for initiatives and policies aimed at reducing opioid addiction and overdose. The website also includes a wide array of additional materials, such as toolkits, reports, peer-reviewed articles, and data and mapping tools, including numerous resources specific to COVID-19.

Cindy Parks Thomas, Principal Investigator

“Imagine being an opioid task force leader, and the mayor asks your group to create a new harm reduction initiative. There’s a lot of information out there, but the BORC website helps you craft your own initiative by providing a curated list of community programs and resources, plus a checklist of essential interventions,” says Associate Dean for Research Cindy Parks Thomas, PhD’00, Principal Investigator of the BORC project.

The BORC website includes content across the spectrum of services related to the opioid crisis (prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction) through four main components:

  • A curated, frequently updated selection of existing community program models
  • Community-focused tools that provide guidance for choosing appropriate interventions, policies, or practices, as well as assistance in building or sustaining coalitions and task forces
  • Links to key resources such as data and mapping, toolkits, papers, and reports
  • A feedback function for website users to provide suggestions and share their own programs

The website highlights a diverse collection of program models and more than 500 additional resources, with new material added regularly. Some approaches used by these program models include safer opioid prescribing, increasing availability of medications for opioid use disorder, overdose prevention, post-overdose response, recovery coaching, and addressing social determinants of health, such as housing and employment.

Stakeholders who have used the website have said:

“I love the layout. It is super-easy to navigate to where you want to go from multiple starting points. The content is comprehensive and the site itself is very well done.” – Rural community coalition leader

“This site is quite comprehensive, intuitive, informative, and easy to use...an impressive endeavor.” – Recovery support services coordinator

The Opioid Policy Research Collaborative is part of the Institute for Behavioral Health at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  Traci Green, Director of Brandeis’ Opioid Policy Research Collaborative, adds, “For communities and local leaders, BORC is a critical starting point and ongoing resource, including insights on adaptations to initiatives during the COVID-19 crisis.  The BORC website connects evidence to action on opioid misuse and overdose, which will save lives, reduce harm, and help build resilient communities.” 

Support for this website was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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