Bucks County Innovators

We were fortunate to speak with Donna Foisy and Mallory Showalter from Bucks County to learn how they’ve been enhancing their work with PA Stop. The wide variety of ways they’ve used PA Stop is truly impressive!

1. Tell us about your organization. What do you do? Who do you serve?

Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission is the Single County Authority (SCA), which means we are the lead drug and alcohol agency for Bucks County. We contract with agencies that provide services across the continuum, which means prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support.

2. How long have you been using PA Stop in your work?

Since its inception. It was pretty much a no-brainer.

As soon as it was launched, our office started to push the materials out. We liked that the materials were all pre-approved by DDAP and it allowed us to disseminate materials with the same message.

3. Tell us about some of the ways that you have utilized PA Stop to spread information about opioids.

The materials we use most are the printed ones, including the “Anyone Can Become Addicted” poster, the tri-fold brochure, and the workplace toolkit, which we are trying to disseminate more widely.

In July of 2016, we hosted a meeting about opioid addiction and invited a number of community coalitions and provider agencies. Before the meeting, we compiled an overdose prevention toolkit, which included the PA Stop tri-fold brochure. That toolkit was disseminated widely.

We also have a large pop-up banner, which we use all the time. You name an event, the pop-up banner has been there. And the banner works very well as a backdrop for a speaker, so it has often served as a stage prop.

We also promote PA Stop in our email signature lines here at the county, and we have successfully worked with local provider agencies to include it in their signature lines. That’s thousands of emails going out every day and all of them say PA Stop in them. Another thing we have done is worked with a handful of legislators so that they now feature PA Stop on their websites.

We have also featured PA Stop in some of the articles and letters to the editors we submit to local papers. For example, we wrote a piece about prescription drug take-back and included a link to the PA Stop website, so that anyone reading the article online could click through directly. That article ran in The Intelligencer and the Bucks County Courier, which covers the entire county.

And finally, we have a very successful medication takeback program in Bucks County. During the DEA’s national takeback day, we have fifty disposal sites countywide. And at every site, there are PA Stop materials. So we’ve really tried to combine the PA Stop message with services for proper drug disposal.

All in all, we’ve probably distributed close to 8,000 materials.

4. What do you think are the most exciting or successful ways that PA Stop has helped you achieve your mission?

As a result of the toolkit that contains PA Stop materials, our office has seen an increase in phone calls over the last year.

And just recently, we got an email from a family services provider that said, “PA Stop campaign flyers [are] posted within our offices. They are powerful and create discussions among professionals and family members who visit our locations. Thumbs up.”

6. We are trying to help organizations and SCAs understand how they can use PA Stop in their communities. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom, based on your experience?

Why not? These materials are pre-approved by DDAP and they’re ready go. We have a huge county here and we know that when it comes to prevention, uniformity and consistent messaging helps.

It’s been easy for every community to recognize and relate to the message of “anyone can become addicted.” That’s true no matter who you are, whether you live someplace urban or rural. And it’s been easy to incorporate the materials into a variety of settings.