Evaluating Current and Exploring Future Opportunities for Partnership Between a Faith-Based Organization and Virginia Cooperative Extension

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Virginia Tech


The opioid crisis is causing immeasurable disruption and placing a heavy burden on individuals, families, communities and the economy across the United States. Addressing this complex crisis will require prevention and intervention strategies on multiple levels. This study investigated perceptions of a faith-based partnership and the opportunity to expand the partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension to deliver prevention programming aimed at drug misuse and abuse including opioids. The study evaluated program coordinator perceptions of a current partnership of two health-based Extension programs delivered in thirty-eight churches of the Baptist General Convention of Virginia in partnership with Extension faculty through a survey. Results indicate a strong partnership, high level of satisfaction of the programming delivered and a solid willingness to partner to deliver other programming, including drug misuse and abuse. However, respondents indicate varying levels of support for programming specifically aimed at opioids. While respondents shared uncertainty about whether opioids had impacted their community, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirmed otherwise, suggesting need for increased awareness of community issues. The sample was small and results were inconclusive outside of the participant group. However, the study supports including a needs assessment and program component aimed at increasing knowledge around community needs. The study concludes there is an opportunity to expand the partnership with FBOs to include prevention programming aimed at drug misuse and abuse including opioids. Recommendations for future research include exploring drug misuse and abuse programming aimed at treatment and recovery, as well as exploring opportunities to partner with additional congregations in the Baptist General Convention and local Virginia Cooperative Extension offices.