Substance use and related disorders take an enormous toll on the community, which suffers as a result of alcohol- and drug-related crime and violence, abuse and neglect of children, and lower worker productivity. In order to address this issue, the United Way’s Substance Use Disorders Council focuses on well-rounded approaches to supporting prevention, treatment, and recovery solutions in the Wabash Valley. To measure the scale of the problem, and track trends and progress toward solutions, the council has released a community dashboard on the United Way’s website that allows the public to view the data that they have compiled to measure their impact.
“One of the most important things we can do as a community partner is to define the problems we’re fighting in measurable terms, then help our community narrow focus onto these metrics. The whole community wins when these measurements move in the right direction,” said Richard Payonk, Executive Director for United Way of the Wabash Valley. “Also, our dashboard is a transparent view for our donors and our community on how we are measuring the impact of our investments and our work.”
The United Way’s impact council structure relies on community data to track measurements related to the work of each specific council. The Substance Use Disorders Council Dashboard is the first to be published for the organization. The Substance Use Disorders Council dashboard focuses on 3 data point measurements selected by the Council and reported on for the full United Way service area. The measurements include substance use-related arrests as reported from local law enforcement, substance use-related child removal cases as reported by the Department of Child Services, and the prevalence of substance use among middle and high school students as reported by the Indiana Youth Survey.
The interactive dashboard will be updated quarterly with data on the amount of substance use-related arrests, but the other two data points are yearly data that will be updated when available. The dashboard allows the user to select data based on county, substance, or timeframe to better understand how substance use is trending at a local level. Additionally, the council publishes an annual Substance Use Disorders Measurement Report to evaluate the community data and report on the progress and trends in our community.
Mark Johnson, United Way’s Community Impact Director said, “We know that substance use affects more than just the individual and has a ripple effect on their family and the overall community. When we met with local law enforcement about collecting and publishing this data, they were very supportive. They want our community to know what we are up against each day and they would like our community’s help addressing this problem.” Johnson explained that while the dashboard resides with United Way, it is for everyone and every organization. “We’re better when we share common goals and work together on measurable results. United Way’s Impact Councils work collaboratively in the community to make an impact on a bold goal of moving 10,000 families out of struggles and into stability and create a stronger Wabash Valley.”
For more information on the United Way’s Substance Use Disorders Council and to see the full report and dashboard visit https://uwwv.org/substance-use-disorders-impact-council/.