Program Profile

PROGRAM PROFILE: McCall Center for Behavioral Health

Litchfield County Opiate Task Force monthly meeting

The Litchfield County Opiate Task Force

The Litchfield County Opiate Task Force (LCOTF), formed in December of 2013, is led by the McCall Center for Behavioral Health and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. LCOTF includes multi-sectoral representation from more than sixty members. Together, they devote their combined resources and expertise to eliminate gaps in and barriers to treatment, to examine the root causes of opioid use and overdose, to build a more robust prevention, referral, and treatment network, and to strengthen collaboration among agencies committed to fighting the opioid epidemic.

The Foundation for Community Health’s support enabled LCOTF to hire a Network Coordinator, Lauren Pristo, MPH, who is dedicated solely to planning, organizing, and implementing the Task Force’s initiatives. Previous initiatives have included a community case manager in Charlotte Hungerford Hospital’s Emergency Department, expanding the availability of Narcan and Narcan training in the community, mental health training provided to police personnel, education and support for best practices in sober homes, and the creation of a regional asset map. Ongoing initiatives include examining overdoses and overdose clusters to identify root causes, creating an overdose spike alert and response system, collaborating with first responders to conduct overdose follow-ups, and operating the Harm Reduction Rover, a mobile harm reduction toolkit that protects individuals in active use and provides a connection to care.

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Tom Narducci, LCSW, Administrative Director Behavioral Health Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and Co-Chair LCOTF with Lauren Pristo, MPH, LCOTF Coordinator

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LCOTF Annual Vigil

To coordinate so many complex initiatives among a large number of members and agencies, and to make such rapid headway on such a challenging issue, would be impossible without Lauren to guide a coordinated and unified approach. The Litchfield County Opiate Task Force is the leader in the northwest Connecticut community’s response to the opioid epidemic and FCH’s support lies at its epicenter.

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Northwest Corner Prevention Network

The Northwest Corner Prevention Network (NCPN) is a community-based coalition of volunteers committed to educating and empowering youth and families to maintain a lifestyle that is healthy, positive, and substance-free. NCPN utilizes evidence-based strategies including Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) in its planning and implementation geared towards supporting effective and sustainable reductions in underage substance use. The Network benefits from the support of the Foundation for Community Health (FCH). FCH support enables McCall to employ a coalition coordinator, Emma Johnson, Certified Prevention Specialist, who works to provide or arrange the trainings, technical assistance, and strategic guidance necessary for SPF Implementation in the community and support the mission of NCPN.

NCPN sponsors empirically supported school-based prevention education within Regional School District One. Support from FCH has enabled Emma and McCall to aid the school district in the implementation of Botvin LifeSkills, a program that provides Region One middle school students with skills that support substance use avoidance, impulse control, and relaxation techniques. Used nationwide and supported by decades of evidence, Botvin is a program that goes beyond messaging to engender a shift in the culture and environment of a school in support not only of substance use prevention, but also of student mental health, self-image, and socialization more generally. The program is designed to be flexible, interactive, and customizable to the needs of the school and its students. Given its cost and complexity however, delivering this service to the students of District One would not be possible without FCH’s support, McCall’s expertise, and the commitment of the school and its staff.

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Emma Johnson, Co-Chair NCPN and McCall Prevention Facilitator at Salisbury Fall Festival