California Overdose Prevention Network

The PHI Center for Health Leadership and Impact (CHLI) operates the California Overdose Prevention Network (COPN), a respected statewide learning network for coalitions, organizations and individuals working at the forefront of the overdose epidemic. COPN’s mission is to build a movement to strengthen connections within communities and provide access to knowledge, training, and resources to implement solutions that save lives.

COPN offers a monthly series of free webinars, workshops, and guided discussions to support local leaders in effective coalition building and overdose prevention strategies. Topics covered in 2022 included naloxone distribution, strategies for addressing toxic stress and burnout, and partnership strategies for local coalitions. The statewide learning network also disseminates a monthly digest to more than 2,200 subscribers with announcements of upcoming COPN webinars as well as external events, resources, funding opportunities, and new stories related to substance use and overdose prevention. COPN also hosts biannual convenings with learning and networking opportunities for local leaders across the state. According to the 2022 member survey, 98% of respondents agreed that participating in COPN is a good use of their time, addresses content that is a priority for them or their organization, and has improved their performance and impact. According to one member, “Before COPN we operated in a more isolated way…COPN has broadened our prospective and given us a sense of unity with other coalitions tackling our nation’s overdose epidemic.”

In addition to the statewide learning network, the COPN Accelerator is a 12-month cohort program to help local overdose prevention coalitions strengthen their performance and impact. This team-based program offers monthly workshops, guided tools, and coaching. Each cohort year addresses an emerging need in the field, such as strategies to strengthen coalition infrastructure, multi-sector partnerships, and data-informed strategies in harm reduction and youth engagement. COPN is currently running its fourth Accelerator cohort cycle to help local coalitions fortify their approach to health equity. 100% of respondents from the last cohort cycle said the program increased the effectiveness of their coalition and has potential for positive impact in their community.

Through a unique partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), COPN sponsors the largest AmeriCorps VISTA program dedicated to overdose prevention in the country. Through this program, up to 40 AmeriCorps VISTA assignees serve full-time in COPN coalitions and provides ongoing development and learning opportunities for AmeriCorps members in the field. To date, more than 70 AmeriCorps members have served in COPN coalitions across California.

Drawing on the success of COPN, CHLI also operates the National Overdose Prevention Network (NOPN) to connect leaders across the country. With more than 7,200 subscribers, this learning network offers national conversations that feature innovative practices in California and foster dialogue on trending topics including fentanyl treatment strategies, mental health first aid, and opportunities to leverage opioid settlement funding.

This project receives funding from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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