About SAFE Solutions

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Brief History

SAFE Solutions, formally known as the Opioid Coalition Resource Hub (OCRH), was created to help community coalitions and states more effectively respond to our nation’s sweeping opioid epidemic. Beginning in late 2015, a team of consultants at InsightFormation, Inc., who work on advanced practices in community strategy implementation, began to review the growing number of "comprehensive" recommendations that were coming out from groups like the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the U.S. Surgeon General's report, numerous strategic recommendations from states or large prescription drug abuse task forces, the DEA, SAMHSA, medical associations, the National Governor's Association, law enforcement groups, and other respected sources of information. Some reports were hundreds of pages long, most had a variety of recommendations, and others were focused on specific groups like pain professionals or local health departments. In early 2016, the team at InsightFormation, Inc. developed a strategy map and decided to share it as a free, open source tool that would continue to be refined over time. There are several reasons for using a strategy map as opposed to logic models or driver diagrams to structure a strategy for an issue such as the addiction crisis. Strategy maps are a well-established tool for strategy implementation with over 20 years of success and an evidence-based approach for improving the implementation of complex strategies. Then, InsightFormation, Inc. chose to use a wiki platform and adopted practices (like using footnotes to link to the source of information as often as possible) to enable people to apply good judgement in how they rely on the information in the hub. In November 2019, SAFE Project acquired the resource and partnered with InsightFormation, Inc. to manage the content.

SAFE Solutions helps states and local coalitions who are working on a strategy not have to expend precious time and resources repeating the exhausting task of trying to create a comprehensive framework. As SAFE Solutions matures, each strategy page will equip communities with ideas to take immediate action, tools, lessons learned, options for creatively engaging under-utilized partners, and suggestions of ways to practically measure progress. The more organizations, coalitions, universities and other stakeholders who use this and add information to it, the faster communities can learn and implement the most effective interventions in the most efficient ways.

Are the Strategies and Ideas in SAFE Solutions Evidence-Based?

SAFE Solutions has been informed by a variety of national, state and local strategic plans including, but not limited to: SAMHSA, CADCA, CDC, President's Commission. In many ways, the strategy map framework is a robust and comprehensive Theory of Change to solve a problem that has never been solved (the addiction epidemic). So, it is technically impossible to have a comprehensive strategy map or theory of change that has been demonstrated to solve the problem we are facing. When NASA began plans to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely, they did not rely on only using evidence-based techniques, but instead systematically broke the big challenge into many smaller challenges and brought the best combination of science, innovation and pro-active risk management to develop a strategy and them implement that strategy. We believe a similar mindset is appropriate here.

We want to see SAFE Solutions grow as a dynamic platform that dramatically accelerates the learning of what is possible, what is being tried, what is working, how can interventions be improved, and what data is being collected for accelerated research. We are adding (and "crowd-sourcing") ideas for measures and hope that the most sensible measures will be highlighted and that many coalitions or regions would start measuring things in the same way to enhance data collection and subsequent research on the strategies that are being attempted.

As much as we hope to bring visibility to interventions and innovations that work, we want to bring visibility to things that don't work and then determine if adjustments or "assists" could improve their success or if the evidence indicates that the idea should be abandoned.