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Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council

Understanding need, progress, and what works

Minnesota’s Opioid Epidemic Response (Minnesota Session Laws, 2019, Chapter 63) directs MMB to evaluate funded interventions related to education, prevention, treatment, and services for individuals and families affected by opioid use disorder (OUD). To accomplish this, MMB’s research team partners with the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council, state agencies, counties, tribes, and providers to understand areas of need and assist the Council with tracking annual performance measures. This research will be used to inform future policymaking.

Monitoring progress on the opioid epidemic

The Council has developed a set of goals that use measurable state-level outcomes and benchmarks to create a holistic view of current patterns of prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery in Minnesota. These performance measures are based on the best available data and can inform the Council about the progress being made toward its goals for addressing the opioid epidemic.

Performance Measures

Funding what works

Evidence-based practices are services that are proven effective or promising at improving one or more outcome measure, as shown by at least one research study using rigorous methods. Services that do not yet have any evidence may or may not be effective at achieving their target outcomes. In order to move the needle on the opioid epidemic, we should fund services that we know are effective, and evaluate those that do not have evidence yet. High-quality impact evaluations produce new evidence that can help to guide policymaking and funding decisions, and ultimately, drive change toward achieving policy goals.

In 2020, MMB reviewed 29 applications to the Opioid Epidemic Response Request for Proposals. While funding constraints postponed project selection, 22% of the proposed activities were rated as evidence based. MMB also reviewed 17 services funded by the supplemental direct appropriation made by the legislature in spring 2020. Nearly 90% of that funding went to evidence-based practices.

For more information about MMB’s other work and impact evaluations in support of Minnesota’s Opioid Epidemic Response, see the following:

Identifying areas of need

MMB also works to highlight specific areas of need that might be opportunities for policy change. To date, this includes reviewing the access to medications for OUD among individuals involved in the criminal justice system and exploring regional variations in capacity for OUD treatment by mapping the locations of providers with DEA waivers to prescribe buprenorphine (a medication for OUD) across the state.

Suggesting new evaluations of innovative investments for OUD

Researchers from MMB are constantly exploring innovative new programs to consider the viability and value of performing a high-quality impact evaluation of the service or activity. If you would like to suggest a program or service for an impact evaluation, then please email us at ResultsManagement@state.mn.us.

Project Status: 

Ongoing

Project Lead: 

Dr. Weston Merrick

Evaluation Priority Area:

Opioid Epidemic Response

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