The Community is the Cure: How African- American Washington, DC Residents Informed Opioid Treatment Engagement

Online Publication Date:
September 26, 2023
Publication Status:
Awaiting Publication
Manuscript PDF File:

**Forthcoming in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 18.2. All rights reserved.**

Background: Recent data indicate rising opioid overdose deaths among African-American residents of Washington, DC.
Objectives: We highlight a community-informed approach to assessing attitudes toward opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment among DC residents (February 2019 – March 2020).
Methods: A listening tour with trusted community leaders led to the formation of a Community Advisory Board (CAB). When the COVID-19 pandemic commenced in March 2020, community dialogues became exclusively virtual. The CAB partnered with academic leaders to co-create project mission and values and center the community’s concerns related to opioid use and its causes, treatment structure, and facilitators of effective engagement.
Results: Interview guides were created for the engagement of community members, utilizing values highlighted by the CAB. The CAB underscored that in addition to opioid problems, effective engagement must address community experience, collective strengths/resilience, and the role of indigenous leadership.
Conclusions: Engaging community prior to project implementation and maintaining alignment with community values facilitated OUD assessments. Community-informed assessments may be critical to building community trust.