PROSPERING Step-by-step, State-by-state

John Lawrence’s message from July 30, 2018

Follow the prevention evidence one step at a time: That is the basis for a new, two-year project we’re helping fund to continue the fight against substance misuse in Iowa. The evidence comes from our work with PROSPER and the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14. The new project is PROSPERing Step-by-step, State-by-state (P2S): Science-based Prevention Workforce Training Systems to Combat the Opioid Crisis. According to the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, opioid abuse is Iowa’s fastest growing substance abuse issue. P2S is extension-powered and guided by scientific evidence, with the goal of building rural communities’ capacity to address the opioid crisis and achieve positive impacts for youth and families. Did you know?

  • The P2S team expects to assist three rural sites in their application of resources to address opioid-related problems and issues.
  • The majority of youth and their families in the selected sites are expected to participate in research-based or evidence-based school and family programs. One option will be SFP 10-14, which has previously demonstrated reductions in opioid misuse.
  • P2S training systems will provide educational opportunities to all ISU Extension and Outreach county-based educators in the counties in which the selected sites are located. Several will receive more intensive training and support to enhance their capacity to form community partnerships addressing the opioid issue. Field specialists also will be eligible for training to support their assigned counties. Selected educators will be eligible for a train-the-trainer effort to grow and sustain P2S in Iowa.
  • The Iowa Department of Public Health and Midwest Counterdrug Training Center are partnering with us. Together we will demonstrate an innovative opioid prevention workforce development model that can be exported to other states and territories.
  • To learn more, contact Iowa State’s Richard Spoth ( and Lisa Schainker ( Spoth and Cathy Hockaday ( are part of the Extension Opioid Crisis Response Workgroup, which is considering how extension nationwide could expand capacity to address the opioid crisis.

The PROSPER Rx Project is hosting a free capacity-building workshop Sept. 12 in Ames. All extension staff and faculty are invited to attend. It’s a good professional development opportunity to learn more about opioid and prescription drug misuse, mental health concerns, and readily available tools and resources, as well as network with potential partners to conduct prevention work in communities. Register online; the deadline is Aug. 22. See the flyer for more information; contact Lisa Schainker, PROSPER Rx principal investigator (, with questions.

One more note: We left our mark on this year’s RAGBRAI bikers, with about 3,000 ISU Extension and Outreach branded sunscreen sticks. After the bikers rode their Cyclone loop through Jack Trice Stadium, they could stop by our tent to get a stick, which featured our wordmark and website url, along with broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. We’ll also be giving out sunscreen sticks during 4-H Day on the Grand Concourse during the Iowa State Fair.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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