The parking lot at Bridgeview Resource Center in Vancouver was full on the late November day. There were only a few available chairs at the meeting. It took more than 20 minutes for the more than 30 people to introduce themselves.
Since beginning in April, Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health’s Clark County Opioid Task Force’s monthly meetings have consistently been packed. Jim Jensen, the task force facilitator and a manager of collaboration and learning with SWACH, said the first year of the group was focused on creating a “scaffolding” for the task force so it can be sustainable.
The task force brings together voices from the substance use recovery community, recovery coaches, representatives from local hospitals and clinics, aides of legislators and people with other areas of expertise. The point is to break down the silos that exist in health care and recovery treatment, and get people from various sectors together.
“A lot of what makes me happy about this task force is the relationship building that can occur when you get these folks together, and the shared experience and education that can happen in these conversations,” said Jensen, who teaches in Clark College’s Addiction Counselor Education Department.
In its inaugural year, the task force has distributed more than 100 naloxone kits used to reverse overdoses, and trained more than 100 people how to administer the drug.