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Tackling the Opioid Crisis

A large city made a commitment to reduce opioid-related deaths but struggled with uniting critical stakeholder groups. We helped them create shared goals and a plan for coordinated outcomes.


A large city with rising opioid overdoses recognized a need for coordinated, integrated action among multiple stakeholder groups and jurisdictions. When initial efforts to align stakeholders failed, city leaders knew it needed to adapt with a new approach or risk completely losing control.


The Clearing was asked to help stakeholders work together in new ways to achieve outcomes faster. This work included aligning 300+ leaders on strategies, initiatives, outcomes, and data sharing and analysis to ensure the successful implementation of a strategic plan.

We continue to facilitate quarterly engagements between public and private sector leaders, bringing together stakeholders to share current data and identify the most critical actions each quarter. The in-person engagements help uncover shared goals and encourage working relationships across sectors, supported by bi-weekly accountability meetings within smaller project teams.


The newly aligned opioid coalition has:

  • Developed and committed to a comprehensive strategic plan and targets for decreasing the opioid overdose death rate
  • Established seven Opioid Strategy Groups (OSGs) to align across the most essential initiatives
  • Results from this coordination between the public and private sector include:
    • Coverage and service gaps are closing
    • Treatment availability and capacity is increasing, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) offered at city jail facilities
    • Four hospitals now provide MAT immediately after an overdose
    • Data-sharing has increased to improve decision-making across 7+ city agencies
    • Data used to deploy resources in real-time to overdose hotspots
    • Development of the Department of Corrections Ready Center that strengthens handoffs between criminal justice and behavioral health systems

This city’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Opioid Use, Misuse, and Related Deaths and its integrated implementation is the most coordinated and forward-moving work we’ve seen.