Through our partner spotlight series, you’ll learn more about some of the initiatives underway by partners engaged in the Rocky Mountain Partnership.
Each partner featured demonstrates one or more of the core tenets of the Rocky Mountain Partnership’s framework to improve economic and social mobility and close inequities for those most impacted by our work:
- We are working towards a common vision
- We are better when we are working together
- We engage community members most impacted by our work to make change
- We uses data (both quantitative and qualitative) to inform action
- We work to impact systems, not just programs and behaviors
The Adams County Opioid Abatement Council is systematically combating the opioid crisis through a data-informed, collaborative and innovative process
Families and communities throughout the state of Colorado, and especially in Adams County, have been severely impacted by the Opioid Crisis and communities lack the infrastructure and resources needed to address this epidemic. Data shows that Colorado only has 15% – 20% of the drug treatment capacity available to meet the state’s needs. Additionally, 1 in 8 opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado over the past five years have occurred in Adams County. Understanding the urgent need to address this crisis, Rocky Mountain Partnership (RMP) is supporting the Adams County region as the facilitator of the Adams County Opioid Abatement Council. Tackling a problem as devastating as the opioid crisis must develop solutions guided by data and community input in order to have a long-term impact. By creating a data-informed, collaborative and innovative process to allocate funding to organizations meeting the needs of the community, the Adams County Abatement Opioid Council is systematically combating this epidemic.
RMP serves as facilitator of the Adams County Opioid Abatement Council, which includes initiating and fostering collaborative conversations, supporting decisions to be driven by data, and engaging community members with lived experience. The Council is a key part of a statewide framework to maximize settlement funds received from drug distribution companies that fueled the opioid crisis for Colorado communities. These types of coordinated efforts to utilize existing infrastructure and ensure regions impacted by the crisis receive funding have not existed — until now. Since its inception, the Adams County Opioid Abatement Council has been committed to gathering data and listening to community members in Adams County before making decisions that will impact the community at large.
The Council is made up of nine voting members: Eva Henry, Adams County Commissioner; Steve O’Dorisio, Adams County Commissioner; Peter Padilla, City of Brighton Council Member; Eric Garcia, City of Thornton Council Member; Glenn Robinson, Deputy Director of Adams County Human Services; Dr. Kelly Weidenbach Dr. PH, MPH, Executive Director of Adams County Health Department; Levon Hupfer, Director of Diversion, Health and Legislation in 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office; Jim May, Northglenn Police Chief; and Don Quick, Chief Judge 17th Judicial District.
“The Adams County Opioid Abatement Council members have deep and personal connections to the impacts of opioid addiction, and a strong dedication to addressing community needs, one person at a time, one case at a time, one crisis at a time, and one recovery at a time,” said Peter Padilla, City of Brighton Council Member and Adams County Opioid Abatement Council Chair. “With measured and thoughtful change at a personal level, we will seek to make a lasting impact, moving the needle across the region.”
In order to help Adams County Opioid Abatement Council members determine where to allocate its first round of opioid litigation settlement dollars, a comprehensive data, information and resource hub was developed by RMP. The data hub empowered the Council to make funding distribution decisions based on up-to-date information about programmatic needs, community impacts, and where service and resource gaps existed within the region. This tool also highlights community voice and perspective through existing projects such as Beyond the Numbers: Echoes of the Opioid Epidemic (Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention) and the Lost Loved Ones Map (National Safety Council) to bring to life the faces behind the numbers.
The Council then developed a funding application process rooted in known research and designed specifically to receive information from grantees to ensure grant awards aligned with where the biggest needs are and how the funding will benefit community members. All applicants were graded using the same data-centered and community-influenced Scoring Matrix. Key elements of the Scoring Matrix include identifying the outcome of the proposal, clear and measurable targets, demonstrating action to fill an existing gap or need, level of collaboration with other entities in Adams County and more. Additionally, grant recipients will be held to a high standard of accountability to impact through required performance metric reporting to ensure outcomes, metrics, and Key Performance Indicators are tracked in real time through the RMP Opioid Abatement Data Hub.
The Council recognizes that while data is a main driving factor determining the funding allocations, the community members who are most impacted by this work need to have a voice in the decision-making process. RMP and the Council are committed to listening to the community every step of the way and know without their willingness to actively support these efforts, long-term change will not be possible. The Council is actively consulting with youth and families to ensure their voices are centered in all funding allocation decisions.
The Adams County Opioid Abatement Council recently made funding determinations for the first $2.9 million distribution through the Adams County Opioid Abatement Grant and presented their recommendations to the Adams County Board of County Commissioners in Study Session on April 4th. Work is currently underway with grantees to develop and confirm the details of the contracts with Adams County, and to confirm the following with the RMP Team:
- The outcome(s) outlined in the RMP Interactive Data Dashboard the project intends to impact
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that ladder up to the outcome(s) that will be tracked
- The cadence of reporting the KPI data to the RMP Team so that it can be visualized on the Interactive Dashboard
The Opioid Abatement Data Dashboard is one of five data tools available to the community as part of RMP Data Hub.
This resource is available to anyone working in or making decisions in the following areas:
If you’re interested in staying up to date with the Adams County Opioid Council and would like to listen in on meetings, visit https://rmpartnership.org/collective-work/addressing-the-opioid-crisis/overview/.
Interested in learning more about the work being done in Adams County to address the Opioid Crisis? Contact JodyNowicki@RMPBackbone.org.