To reduce the burden on our region's treatment resources, immediate steps must be taken to prevent residents of all ages from becoming addicted. Important action steps include:

Informing the Public

Informing the public about opiate issues through social media, public service announcements, educational materials and other means.

Promoting Takeback Boxes

Promoting prescription takeback boxes at designated locations to remove dangerous prescription drugs from our community.

Increase Prevention Programs

Increasing the availability of evidence-based prevention programs, policies, and practices.

Prevention Resources

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We're here to help and prevent.

The ultimate goals of the Regional Collaborative are to prevent heroin and opiate use and abuse before it begins and to get current users into treatment. We need to communicate with users in all stages of addiction to connect them with resources and treatment, empowering them to choose hope over dope.

For a full list of prevention-related services, products and programs, visit

Get Educated

Why is prevention important?

A substance use disorder is a chronic, progressive, relapsing disease, not unlike heart disease, cancer or diabetes. It has a pediatric onset, when the brain is not fully developed, and use and abuse peaks in young adulthood. It is preventable and treatable.

There are two main factors that lead to substance use disorders - early onset of use and biologic factors.

The research tells us that those who begin to use substances before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop abuse/dependence in adulthood.

Children of addicts are four times more likely to develop the disease.

It is important to delay when initiation occurs - remember brain development - so kids can grow up healthy and well.

What are the signs and symptoms of opiate abuse?

Physical: small pupils, shallow or slow breathing, slow pulse/heart rate, analgesia (feeling no pain), sedation, euphoria (feeling high), nausea, vomiting, itching or flushed skin, constipation, slurred speech, poor coordination.

Behavioral: changes in friends/grades/activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, changes in weight, deterioration of physical appearance/personal grooming habits, confusion or poor judgment.

What are the harms and consequences of opiate abuse?

Impaired decision-making abilities, ability to regulate behavior, and respond to stressful situations.

Physical dependence, addiction.

Respiratory depression, hypoxia, coma, permanent brain damage, death.

Get Involved

What can I do as an individual?

DON'T smoke or use illegal drugs. DO consume alcohol in moderation, take prescriptions as directed, secure your medications and alcohol, properly dispose of medications, exercise - it releases natural endorphins, use other methods to manage pain/stress and model healthy behavior.

If you're looking to volunteer, join a drug prevention coalition in your neighborhood.

What can we do as a family?

Talk with your kids about the harms of alcohol, medications and other drugs; set clear boundaries and expectations about risky behavior - set the norm of non-use; make a big deal if rules are broken; know your kids' friends/parents; support your kids' involvement in positive activities with positive peers and adults; know the signs and symptoms of abuse; don't forget your older adults - the body metabolizes drugs and alcohol differently as we age.

What can we do as a community?

Use your voice - let others know why prevention is important to you, your family and your community. Don't let the myths fool you - educate yourself before signing a petition or voting, support events that practice best prevention practices.

Be a responsible workplace - implement drug-free workplace policies and support your employees and your community to build a better working environment.

If you are a faith leader, speak from the pulpit on health and wellness practices, provide pro-social opportunities for youth and support treatment and recovery of your members.

Schools have a captive audience. Opportunities to develop refusal skills, leadership skills and other pro-social positive youth development activities happen there.