Develop a fair and transparent process for deciding where to spend the funding.
This process should be guided by public health leaders with the active engagement of people and families with lived experience, as well as other key groups.
How can jurisdictions adopt this principle?
Determine areas of need.
Jurisdictions should use data to identify areas where additional funds could make the biggest difference. For example, data may show that various groups in the state are not reached by current interventions; or that certain geographic areas would benefit from specific programs such as housing assistance or syringe services programs. Existing strategic plans may contain much of this information.
Get input from groups that touch different parts of the epidemic to develop the plan.
Jurisdictions should draw upon public health leaders with expertise in addiction and substance use to guide discussions and determinations around the use of the dollars. They should also include groups with firsthand experience working with youth and people who use drugs—including prevention and treatment providers, law enforcement personnel, recovery community organizations, social service organizations, and others—who have insights into strategies that are working, those that need to be revised, and areas where new investments are needed. Once a jurisdiction has conducted an initial assessment of areas where additional resources would be helpful, it should solicit and integrate broad feedback to design a plan that will meet the needs of the local community.
Jurisdictions should be sure to include people with lived experience, including those receiving medications as part of their treatment, as part of the decision-making process. The Ryan White Program, which distributes HIV funds to affected communities, demonstrates one way to do this; at least one-third of the members of the community Planning Councils that allocate funds to treatment providers must receive program services themselves.
In addition to the groups from which a jurisdiction may formally seek input, they should also solicit and use input from the public. This will help raise the profile of the newly developed plan and give those with particular insights—such as families and other members of the recovery community—a chance to weigh in.
Ensure that there is representation that reflects the diversity of affected communities when allocating funds.
To ensure equitable distribution of funds to communities of color, representation from these communities should be included in the decision making process. Community representatives, leaders, and residents can help leverage community resources and expertise while giving insights into community needs.