2017 Presidents Challenge


Public Health Approaches to Preventing Substance Misuse and Addictions

Substance misuse and addictions to alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit substances are long-standing but growing problems in the United States.


ASTHO’s President’s Challenge is an effort to unite and rally state health officials, affiliates, and other cross-sector partners to take action on a critical and urgent public health issue within states and communities. With an emphasis on prevention and early intervention, the 2017 President’s Challenge, issued by ASTHO President Jay Butler, MD, CPE, centers around public health approaches to preventing substance misuse, addictions, and the related consequences. Learn more »

Substance Misuse and Addictions Prevention Framework

Addictions are chronic conditions involving brain function, and substance misuse is often deeply rooted in early life events and social factors. The public health community must raise awareness, improve education, and drive meaningful conversations around these connections to truly make an impact and implement effective, science-based responses.

Click on the three tiers below for resources, tools, and strategies
to help your health agency implement each level.

2017 President's Challenge

Key strategies to prevent substance misuse and addictions:

Reduce stigma and change social norms Increase protective factors and reduce risk factors in communities Strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration Improve prevention infrastructure Optimize the use of cross-sector data for decisionmaking

President's Challenge Virtual Series

Session 1: Tertiary Prevention Strategies to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Recording: http://astho.adobeconnect.com/p2nfcy8alox/ 
Date: April 13, 2-3 P.M. EDT
Expert speakers gave an overview of various interventions that have been helpful in addiction prevention. Michael Kilkenny, MD, discussed the comprehensive syringe exchange model that West Virginia uses. Yolanda Sowards of the Appalachia HIDTA discussed harm reduction strategies. Andy Jones from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services presented the naloxone initiatives that Alaska uses.

Session 2: Secondary Prevention Strategies

Audio Recording: http://cc.readytalk.com/play?id=8weh3h/
Slides: Session 2 slides
Date: June 1, 2-3 P.M. ET
A panel of state officials from Rhode Island described clinical-community linkages and efforts to engage individuals in emergency rooms and by working with peer recovery coaches. Then, Aetna detailed how they are working to reverse the opioid epidemic with integrated pharmacy, behavioral health, and medical programs. 

Session 3: Primary Prevention in Action

Audio recording: https://youtu.be/qLh0XMWshGE
Slides: Session 3 slides
Date: August 17, 2-3 P.M. ET
Jared Arnett, executive director for Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR), discussed efforts to build greater prosperity, resilience, and equity in the Appalachian region. Tracy Dolan, deputy health commissioner for the Vermont Department of Health, explained Vermont's regional prevention partnership program and school programming interventions. Lastly, Brigid McCaw, medical director of Kaiser Permanente's Family Violence Prevention Program, provided an overview of the program's approach to preventing trauma.