Ten Ways You Can Address the Addictions Crisis


How can you begin and continue the dialogue around substance use and foster positive change in your community?

Here is a list of practical next steps you can take in your community today. These recommendations range from immediate, individual action to community-wide action. You can make a difference right now.

  1. Start or join a local book club, and explore books and films that examine substance use disorder. Discuss steps for implementing local action at each session.
  1. Understand the negative role stigma has on substance use, and learn how to change your everyday language.
  2. Engage your local community organizations, and hold workshops to help educate community members about stigma.

Courses aim to combat stigma around substance use disorder

Indiana University’s Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge, in partnership with the School of Nursing, is offering two courses to help reduce stigma around substance use disorder.

Take the courses
  1. Promote awareness for individuals in recovery by creating a space for storytelling or sharing your own.
  2. Learn about harm reduction and how it can help to save a life. Know how to use naloxone by taking a simple training session.
  3. Get involved in community organizations that are addressing substance use disorder and support people living with SUD.

Get a complete list of organizations at HoosierHelp.org, including:

Substance use and mental health

  • Centerstone
  • Indiana Recovery Alliance
  • New Leaf New Life
  • Overdose Lifeline
  • Recovery Engagement Center
  • ShipHappens

Basic needs

  • Beacon
  • Community Kitchen
  • Mother Hubbard's Cupboard
  • All-Options Pregnancy Resource Center
  • Bloomington Homeless Coalition
  1. Become certified as a Peer Recovery Coach (for those with lived experiences). 
  2. Join your local Community Health Improvement Plan workgroup related to substance use, and collaborate to embrace a continuum of solutions, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and harm reduction.
  3. Stay up-to-date on the substances that are impacting your community. 
  4. Participate in your local government’s open forums and meetings, and stay informed about current legislation.

Community health improvement planning

Through a partnership with the IU School of Public Health and IU Center for Rural Engagement, community health leaders are developing community health needs assessments (CHNAs) to examine the health needs of their communities, and community health improvement plans (CHIPs) to address those needs.

See our progress
The IU Center for Rural Engagement improves the lives of Hoosiers through collaborative initiatives that discover and deploy scalable and flexible solutions to common challenges facing rural communities. Working in full-spectrum community innovation through research, community-engaged teaching and student service, the center builds vision, harnesses assets and cultivates sustainable leadership structures within the communities with which it engages to ensure long-term success.