What is AmeriCorps?
Bill Clinton signed the national and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 to expand opportunities for Americans to serve their communities. Thus AmeriCorps was born. AmeriCorps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet our country's critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment
What is HOPECorps?
HOPECorps (Heroin Opioid Prevention & Education Corps) is a scatter-site AmeriCorps program administered by Salisbury University (SU). HOPECorps will serve the eight Eastern Shore Counties of Maryland (Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester).
Our mission is to strengthen the capacity of community organizations working to tackle the heroin and opioid epidemic in Maryland. Our AmeriCorps members will act as support persons helping to promote, grow, and develop programs to support their placement site.
The goal of HOPECorps is for AmeriCorps members to provide health education programming to 1000 community members. In addition, the AmeriCorps members will leverage an additional 50 volunteers that will be engaged in expanding naloxone trainings and awareness of services for individuals and families.
HOPECorps sites work toward one or more of the program's objectives, all of which pertain to supporting efforts to fight the heroin and opioid crisis.
The Lazarus Model
In August 2017, the School of Social Work was awarded a grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps program and with the collaboration of the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism to address the emerging heroin and opioid overdose epidemic on the Eastern Shore with the creation of the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education program, HOPECorps.
Primarily, HOPECorps members will provide support for community and government agencies in three domains: training, education, and capacity building. HOPECorps members will support naloxone training and distribution efforts; will support efforts to inform citizens about opioid treatment options; will support efforts to recruit volunteers to assist in expanding naloxone trainings and awareness of services for individuals and families struggling with the heroin and opioid epidemic.
HOPECorps’ intervention model and philosophy closely mirrors the highly successful grassroots effort of the community of Moravian Falls, North Carolina that created the Project Lazarus Model. In the mid-2000’s, Moravian Falls’ county, Wilkes County, had a drug overdose fatality rate, four times greater than the national average. In 2007, Project Lazarus was formed. The overdose death rate reached its peak in that county in 2009 (46.6 people per 100,000 people) and was almost halved by 2010 (29.0 people per 100,000 people). The death rate numbers in Wilkes County continue to drop to this day. Other communities throughout the US have adopted the Project Lazarus Model and have reported positive outcomes.
Project Lazarus is a public health model emphasizing the prevention of overdose fatalities and the autonomy of individual communities for creating programs that respond to and address the community’s overall health. Essentially, each community understands its problem the best, and all prevention and intervention directives should come from the community.
Project Lazarus provides training and technical assistance to communities and organizations addressing their opioid epidemic. They conceptualized their model as a wheel with three core components in the “hub” and seven components that make up the “spokes”. HOPECorps will begin this project by borrowing the “hub” concept, which includes Public Awareness, Coalition Action, and Data and Evaluation. This “hub” will be taken to each member site, where the site, along with their HOPECorps member, will begin creating each “spoke”.
For more info visit the HOPECorps Website.
What do HOPECorps - AmeriCorps members do?
ACM service will focus on providing opioid education programs which will include naloxone distribution, recruiting community members to attend those programs, and delivering additional information about support related to opioid use/abuse. Primarily, ACMs will provide support for community and government agencies in three domains: training, education, and capacity building. ACMs will support naloxone training and distribution efforts; ACMs will support efforts to inform citizens about opioid treatment options; ACMs will support efforts to recruit volunteers to assist in expanding naloxone trainings and awareness of services for individuals and families struggling with the heroin and opioid epidemic.