Ta Misha Bascombe

Ta Misha Bascombe PHAP 2015

In late 2016, Virginia’s state health commissioner declared opioid addiction a public health emergency for the state. My host site, the Richmond City Health District (RCHD), tasked me with examining the scope of this issue within our community and serving as RCHD’s liaison to the City of Richmond’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force.

In support of the city and the task force, I pulled together available data about heroin and opioid misuse in Richmond from multiple sources to create a more complete picture of the problems we were facing. These data came from police departments, hospitals, emergency medical technicians, and youth surveys, as well as the state health department, medical examiner’s office, and behavioral health authority. I also monitored all heroin- and opioid-related policies and bills being considered by the Virginia’s General Assembly. I presented policy and data updates at task force meetings to keep everyone informed.

In addition to serving on the task force, I have also become a REVIVE! trainer. REVIVE! was created by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services to teach lay persons about substance use, opioids, and how to use naloxone to revive someone from an opioid overdose. I’ve held many trainings across the city and given every training participant two free doses of naloxone to have on hand should they encounter someone experiencing an overdose. Not long after I started trainings, I learned that a trainee actually used the information and naloxone I provided to revive someone. This showed me that what I’m saying and doing has made an impact on at least one life so far. I love being a part of this work, and I feel I’m really making a difference in the community I serve.

Up Next: Victor Cabada, Injury & Violence PreventionRight Arrow