Evans Addresses Opioid Crisis in Pair of Talks

Elizabeth Evans
Elizabeth Evans

Elizabeth Evans, associate professor of health promotion and co-principal investigator of the $10 million Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) Clinical Research Center grant, will deliver a webinar on “A criminal justice-engaged research collaborative: Findings and lessons learned from Western Massachusetts” on Wednesday, Oct. 14 beginning at noon. The talk is part of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science’s 9th Annual Community Engagement and Research Symposium, which has moved to a virtual webinar series format this year. Register for the webinar here.

An expert on opioid use disorder, Evans has been collaborating for several years with two Western Massachusetts sheriff’s offices on ways to design, implement and study opioid treatment programs for jail detainees in Franklin and Hampshire counties. The JCOIN grant, awarded in 2019, extends these efforts, funding Evans’ research on a pilot opioid treatment program for jail detainees in seven Massachusetts counties. JCOIN is part of the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, which seeks to accelerate science-based solutions to the national opioid public health crisis.

Earlier this month, Evans appeared as a speaker on "The Opioid Crisis in the Age of Pandemic," a webinar sponsored by the Forbes Library in Northampton, Mass., and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program addressed questions such as:

How has quarantine, social distancing, and the coronavirus impacted those living with opioid use disorder and those who support and care for them? What's it like to have one public health crisis stacked on top of another public health crisis? What can the principals of harm reduction teach us about responding to health crises of all kinds?

Joining Evans for the virtual program were Deb Flynn Gonzalez, program director of the Hope for Holyoke Peer Recovery Center, Jill Shanahan, harm reduction training coordinator at Tapestry Health, and Cherry Sullivan, opioid program coordinator for the Northampton Department of Health.

A recording of this program can be found on YouTube here.