MPA Faculty Tackles the Mason County Opioid Crisis During COVID-19

November 23, 2020
Image of Blue Front Cover of 2020 Fall American Society for Public Administration PA Times Magazine

MPA Faculty Member, Lachezar "Lucky" Anguelov's work in the community is featured in the American Society for Public Administration PA TIMES Magazine’s Fall Edition! “No Wrong Door” Approach to Tackling the Opioid Crisis during COVID-19.

Over the last three years Lucky Anguelov, PhD, MPA Faculty Member, has been working with Mason County Community Services-Public Health on a federally funded grant that tackles opioid overdose deaths in our community. The Mason County Comprehensive Opiate Abuse Program (COAP)’s goal is to eliminate deaths due to opioid overdose in Mason County, Washington. The COAP program seeks to enhance communication and agency collaboration by implementing a “No Wrong Door” approach. Lucky’s work, as the program’s external evaluator/action researcher, has been focused on data collection and analysis. Mason County’s substance use response program coordinator, D. Abraham (Abe) Gardner, and Lucky co-authored an article for the PA TIMES ‘s fall edition – published by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). The PA TIMES publishes professional public administration articles, through both magazine and an online venue – The magazine is printed on quarterly bases, and each edition focuses on specific thematic topics.

In the article, Abe and Lucky outline the COAP program’s vision, and explain what has been COVID-19’s impact. Abe notes that:

“At the root of recovery for both mental health as well as substance use disorder is connection and relationship. As COVID-19 hit Mason County, just as it did the rest of the nation, it forced the local providers to begin to think and implement ways to connect with clients for on-going support as well as accountability other than in-person.”

As the community of Mason County continues to navigate the unknowns and the impacts of COVID-19, they are working diligently and proactively to provide services supporting those experiencing SUD/OUD, and mental health issues. Thankfully, Mason County had been putting in a lot of work prior to COVID-19 to develop partnerships across various stakeholder groups. The creation and participation in these groups has laid a solid foundation that helps mitigate COVID-19’s impacts.