Combating opioid misuse one business at a time

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2017 survey, an estimated 8.1 million adults aged 26 or older misused opioids that past year.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently launched Sharing Solutions in response to the issue of opioid misuse. It is an online resource hub that includes helpful information and showcases innovative business solutions to the issue.

“Addressing a crisis of this scope and magnitude requires everyone who has a stake to be part of the solution. We believe businesses are a vehicle to help solve the problem,” Carolyn Cawley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation president, said. “The site will grow larger and more effective with every new resource and story shared.”

Kathryn Traver, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation vice president of operations and Sharing Solutions project leader, explained that the foundation looks at business as part of the solution to a wide range of issues.

“It is within that kind of experience and framework that we approached the opioid crisis and we said, ‘Let’s start by vetting with our local chambers and state chambers here to see what’s [happening] on the ground,’” Traver said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation worked with employers to determine how the foundation could help combat the opioid issue.

“We decided that what we’ll do is curate that information and make it easily accessible and navigable within a resource hub,” Traver said.

The foundation vetted the sources and pulled the information together for the website.

“It was built specifically to be communal and social in that there are forms built into those resources for people to actually share solutions,” Traver said.

In addition to the curated information and resources, Sharing Solutions also features a storytelling aspect with Businesses Combat the Opioid Crisis.

“Separate from those resources what we’ve done is collected stories from businesses that we see are taking a leadership role and making strides as it relates to their own workforce, what they’re doing in the community, how they’re leveraging their core competency, doing what they do best to address the crisis,” Traver said.

The health care sector will also include stories and explain how it’s adjusting operations in response to the business stories.

“That storytelling is also a place where people can continue to build and expand on this body of work,” Traver said. “So, the forms are built in for people to continue to share.”

In April, the foundation will begin its ten-city tour to visit with chambers that are involved in the initiative.

“We’re really working with the chambers and organizations on the ground to find out, ‘What are the specific needs as it relates to workforce in your community?’ And then, the learnings from that will also become part of the toolkit as we grow,” Traver said.

The foundation will also have the opportunity to provide Sharing Solutions resources and information with the tour audiences.

Traver explained she hopes to end the tour in a national summit, but the date and location has not been determined.

Sierra Ciaramella

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