ASAP Coalition Background
The 2015 Bartholomew County Community Health Needs Assessment indicated that substance misuse was the most critical community health issue. In response, in November 2015, Columbus Regional Health’s Healthy Communities Initiative formed a new Mental Health and Substance Abuse Action Team with start-up funding provided by the CRH Foundation. This team sponsored an Opioid Summit at CRH in the spring of 2016, where leaders and elected officials from the City of Columbus, Bartholomew County, CRH, Centerstone, the court system, local funders, school systems, and social service providers came together to discuss the crisis. All agreed that a comprehensive community-wide response was required.
In the fall of 2016, City of Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop, and CRH CEO Jim Bickel, agreed to work collaboratively to develop a community-wide response, with CRH and the CRH Foundation committing $500,000 to fund the initial work. It was decided that the community would embark on an intensive, all-in effort to address the crisis, with CRH Healthy Communities as the supporting organization for this initiative during 2017-2018.
The initial strategy was based on four cornerstones: prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. An Executive Leader, Jeff Jones, was recruited in early 2017 and volunteered his services, and a Program Manager, Rhonda Fischer, was hired. Each sponsoring stakeholder assigned key executives to lead efforts in the cornerstone areas: Julie Abedian, CRH VP of Community Partnerships agreed to lead the Treatment and Recovery Team, Beth Morris, CRH Director of Healthy Communities Initiative, was chosen to lead the Prevention Team, and Judge Kelly Benjamin, Bartholomew County Circuit Court Judge, accepted the leadership role for the Intervention Team. The organization operated with a public health crisis mentality, set out to develop a comprehensive community strategy and achieve significant progress within an ambitious two-year period. The City of Columbus donated office space at City Hall and the leadership team branded the initiative the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress of Bartholomew County (ASAP).
The Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress formally launched and was introduced to the community in April 2017 at a community meeting at The Commons, attended by over 500 people.
Introduction of Prevention and Recovery System and 2017-18 Progress
During the spring and summer of 2017, the ASAP Leadership Team conducted significant research, received input from a broad cross-section of local partners, learned from communities across Indiana and other states, and solicited feedback from women and men in recovery. As a result of this work, by October 2017 ASAP had achieved a broad community consensus for the proposed strategy to address the opioid crisis (and other substance use disorders) based on four cornerstones: prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. This strategy identified the ten Critical Elements of a community Prevention and Recovery System, which includes the ASAP Hub. Action teams, each led by an experienced subject matter expert, were formed for each of the ten Critical Elements. The Prevention and Recovery System strategy established the foundation for a holistic community-wide response and recognizes the importance of a systemic approach.
2019 ASAP Transition to 501(c)3 Not for Profit Organization
In recognition that the ASAP community coalition must continue in 2019 and for years to come, the ASAP sponsors and ASAP leadership team set up a nonprofit corporation, Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress, Inc. This establishes ASAP as an ongoing legal entity and 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which will allow ASAP to accept funding from a variety of sources and apply for state and federal grants.
In 2019, ASAP’s expenses relating to staffing and operations is jointly funded by the City of Columbus and Bartholomew County. These funds were requested by ASAP via the Substance Abuse Public Funding Process during the September-December 2018 period, and approved by the Columbus City Council and Bartholomew County Council. The Substance Abuse Public Funding Process is a unique funding model, established jointly between the City of Columbus and Bartholomew County to provide a funding structure by which requests can be considered for substance abuse related projects.
Last modified on Friday, 3 April 2020 11:13