What is it about?
The COVID-19 pandemic led to limited resources for many non-COVID-19 services provided by local health department in the U.S. However, communities continued to need public health services addressing alcohol and drug use. Survey data between 2016 and 2021 describe the availability of these services at health departments during the pandemic.
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Why is it important?
During the pandemic, health departments provided substance use-related services at reduced levels. Limited access to essential services like these can make worse already negative outcomes, especially for groups that have been economically or socially marginalized. To avoid disruptions during future public health emergencies, health departments need funding that can be used for their specific needs.
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This page is a summary of: Disruptions to U.S. local public health’s role in population-based substance use prevention and response during COVID-19, Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy, November 2022, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1186/s13011-022-00499-7.
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National Profile of Local Health Departments
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) conducts the National Profile of Local Health Departments (commonly referred to as the "Profile study") every three years as a census of local health departments (LHDs). The Profile study represents the largest, most reliable data source on LHDs. This study describes the funding, staffing, governance, and activities of LHDs across the United States, developing a comprehensive and accurate description of LHD infrastructure and practice.
Forces of Change Survey
Since 2008, the NACCHO has periodically surveyed a random sample of local health departments (LHDs) to assess the impact of the Great Recession. In 2014, NACCHO expanded the survey to address more generally the forces that affect change in LHDs, including emerging public health threats and a growing need to focus on population health. This expanded assessment is called the Forces of Change survey. The Forces of Change survey helps to identify infrastructure challenges, as well as opportunities to strengthen public health capacity.
NACCHO's Overdose Prevention work supports local health departments (LHDs) in their efforts to respond to the drug crisis through the implementation of evidence-based policies and programs from the prevention and treatment of substance use disorder and its related health consequences. This webpage is a core resource providing information, resources, and tools for LHDs seeking to build their capacity to respond to the drug overdose epidemic within their own communities. Resources include two research reports describing overdose prevention and response activities among LHDs.
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