Prevention is Key is dedicated to the promotion of health and well being of our community, prevention substance abuse, addiction, violence and related issues through heightened awareness, advocacy, education, programs, services, information and referrals.
Morris County Prevention is Key Inc. (MCPIK) is a private, non-profit, community based health organization serving Morris County by providing science-based prevention education programs, professional development training, advocacy, information and referral services, that address issues of substance abuse prevention, recovery support, violence prevention, ATOD dependence and other emerging issues of concern to the community.
Outcomes over Authorship...
As we re-launch our new agency website, I felt it time to go back and revisit an article I published ten years ago, when I first came to lead MCPIK. Though a great deal has changed in a decade, some for the better and some for the worse, my original assertion, that “Outcomes Are Everything” couldn’t be more true than it is today. Against the backdrop of a seemingly runaway opioid overdose epidemic sweeping both the state and the nation, the need for a laser-like focus on program outcomes would seem plainly obvious to the casual observer. In this last decade the available resources committed to addressing the issues of substance use and addiction has fallen off precipitously. Where there were once whole systems and networks dedicated to the prevention of addiction, there is a markedly blank landscape. For as funding shrank and the economy worsened, so did the fortunes of many human service providers, no matter how noble or just their mission. Thus, those who weathered the storm and managed to grow and prosper in the face of such dire circumstances, are faced with a new reality of even greater need and far fewer resources to accomplish the requisite work. We now serve an ever growing population in greater need with fewer tangible resources than ever before in our history. The need for collegial cross-systems collaboration, leveraging resources and rapid innovation in service and its delivery is the moment in which we find ourselves.
Yet today, along hallowed halls and among those entrusted to make the crucial decisions in favor of our better angels, “authorship” and not outcome is trumping the day. When the key decision makers and leaders of whole systems turn a convenient blind-eye to the innovative and highly successful outcomes of others so as to reward a chosen few with the false accolades of “authorship” and the gilded preferences that mantel provides, we have arrived at a defining moment. A moment in which each of us who does the hard and noble work of helping those in need is called to choose between substance or symbolism; outcomes or authorship….life or death.
Some may say my analogy is mere hyperbole, however, like so many people that I come in contact with each and every day, this epidemic has touched everyone in some way and it touched me when it claimed the life of my dearest niece Noelle on June 6, 2015. She, like so many before and after her, struggled for many years with the disease of addiction and the lack of readily available resources and suitable recovery supports to enable long term recovery. I cannot help sometimes but to think if I could have done more, done it better, innovated more rapidly, stepped on more toes and forced the issue with those in power, then maybe she would still be alive. I don’t know if I could have made a difference for her and sadly I never will.
Yet, I hear her in the voices of the family members who come to our monthly breakfasts at the Recovery Center and testify to the difference CARES made for their loved ones who are still here and on a path of recovery. I hear her in the voices of the peers who come to CARES and volunteer to help those struggling to stay on the path. I hear her in the ebullience of our collaborative partners who have come to the table with no agenda except to help and have experienced success as never before. I hear her in my dreams telling me to stay the course, to make the difference for another family, to keep striving for the outcomes and ignore who gets the credit, the accolades, the limelight……these things are transient and have no value when considered against the life of someone suffering with addiction. Noelle has become my compass, pointing the way forward, not into the well-traveled waters of others, but into the uncharted and shoal ridden seas few have ever ventured. It is here, she assures me, that success will be found. So, for as long as I may be blessed to occupy the helm of this “pirate ship” of prevention and recovery known as MCPIK, the organizational objective will always and only be the outcomes!
Christopher Goeke Executive Director