The FAACT Project’s Community Engagement Efforts in Virginia

The FAACT Project’s Community Engagement Efforts in Virginia

Virginia’s Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT) allows government and community health organizations to better understand and address the opioid and addiction crisis through data. Developed by Voyatek in partnership with Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice and Public Safety, FAACT uses data from sources such as Virginia State Police, Emergency Medical Services, and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, FAACT to provide insightful, high-level analyses that enable a more effective, data-driven response to the Fentanyl Epidemic. With FAACT, Virginia decision makers have the resources required to identify people at risk for developing substance use disorder, and in turn, improve allocations of scarce treatment and recovery resources.

While FAACT was first launched in 2019, over the past two years, the FAACT team has introduced a number of community engagement initiatives and resources to multiply the program’s impact:

Peer recovery

Leveraging a peer recovery specialist

William Ellis joined the FAACT team in 2022 as a Business Analyst and Community Engagement Specialist. In this role, Will draws from his own experience with substance use disorder to help government agencies and community groups use data and analytics to better serve constituents struggling with substance use disorder (SUD).

Will’s community engagement efforts have yielded important results in 2023. He and the FAACT team attended many community events across Virginia, including SAARA, the Chris Atwood Foundation, the Hampton/Newport News CSB, and the Mount Rogers Youth Crisis Center ribbon cutting. They also participated in SAMSHA Training, “Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Persons with Opioid Use Disorders and Their Infants.” These efforts alone resulted in more than 100 new FAACT users, which means more organizations now have access to accurate data about the effects of fentanyl and opioids across the Commonwealth.

The resource locator tool

One of the key areas Ellis and the FAACT team have identified is helping Virginians with SUD more easily find and access to services. To help address this issue, we’ve developed the FAACT Resource Locator Tool.

The Resource Locator Tool provides Virginians with a simple, quick method to search verified resources and locate substance abuse treatment, addiction recovery, urgent care and other support services using data provided by FAACT. Search results include location, program descriptions, contact details and accessibility information. In addition to Virginia services, the tool also includes resources available in neighboring locales in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The tool is mobile phone-friendly, giving users the ability to find life-saving services for themselves or their loved ones in their communities.

By tracking the number of inquiries per zip code, the tool will help Virginia officials better understand where the demand for resources is being met, and where additional resources may be needed. The Resource Locator Tool uses location services to suggest services and organizations but does not save any location data or require a log-in, allowing users to remain completely anonymous. For those without a fixed address or who are unsure of their location, the Resource Locator Tool also features a “Find My Location” function to suggest nearby services.

Future developments

The FAACT Project is committed to ongoing data collection for various objectives within different organizations to improve the Harm Reduction dashboard for FY24. The harm reduction dashboard consolidates multiple datasets for a comprehensive view of substance use in the Commonwealth. Its purpose is to equip users with actionable data. Law enforcement data reveals substances contributing to the criminal justice system. EMS incidents reflect substances prompting 911 calls. Naloxone and Fentanyl test strip distribution data highlights where harm reduction tools are deployed, underscoring their ongoing necessity. The Youth Substance Analysis sheet focuses on children as a population of interest, allowing users to provide education and tools based on gathered information. Future plans involve expanding populations of interest, starting with Veterans. As the dashboard grows, GPRA data can be incorporated to measure recovery success after supporting harm reduction.

The community engagement efforts undertaken in Virginia are just one example of the FAACT Project’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the opioid crisis.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we urge you to seek help. With the right support and resources, recovery is possible.

-Voyatek Leadership Team