A Comprehensive Response to the Substance Use Crisis

Over the past few years, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has been monitoring the impact of the opioid epidemic on park and recreation professionals and the communities they serve. As a response to these challenges, NRPA created a Community of Practice (CoP) specifically addressing substance use — with a strong focus on opioids. The CoP examined two main areas in response to substance use on park grounds: (1) prevention and (2) operations/facility management. This session will discuss the summary report that was developed as a result of the Community of Practice and includes overarching themes and lessons learned, data collected from agencies across the country, and recommendations from leading public health organizations and the federal government. It also will include case studies from local park and recreation agencies implementing different strategies in response to the substance use crisis.


Learning Objectives
Following this session, learners will be able to:

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NRPA Education online learning content is accessible for 180 days from the date of your registration. The learning content is available for registration for one year from the date of origination.

Julien Scott

Bronx Operations Manager

NYC Parks

Julien Scott currently serves as the Bronx Operations Manager at NYC Parks, where he started as an analyst in 2013. He oversees data collection and analysis at the borough level, and helps the agency to develop and implement solutions to operational challenges. It’s in this role that he witnessed firsthand the dramatic increase in the level of public drug use and discarded syringes in South Bronx parks over the last few years. He is now working closely with senior agency leadership, maintenance staff, and a broad coalition of outside partners to implement a comprehensive plan to address these issues.

Prior to joining NYC Parks, with an undergraduate degree in graphic communications, Julien worked in magazine publishing in New York and Los Angeles, and as a journalist in Mexico City. Deciding to pursue a second career in public service, he completed graduate degrees in sustainable development and public policy. This focus afforded him the opportunity to join NYC government at an agency that is vital to creating a more resilient and livable city for all New Yorkers.

Lauren Kiefert

Program Specialist

National Recreation and Park Association

Lauren Kiefert is a Program Specialist for the National Recreation and Park Association. Lauren joined NRPA in January 2019 and works on various substance abuse prevention and education-related grants and projects. Lauren brings a wealth of knowledge to NRPA, having both educational and professional experience in the public health field. Prior to joining the association, she completed her Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University, with a focus on health promotion and prevention efforts. Her thesis examined the current opioid epidemic and potential approaches to address the nation-wide issue. She also worked for a substance abuse prevention coalition that served a diverse youth population.  

Annette Cheng

Project Development Coordinator, Innovation and Performance Management

NYC Parks and Recreation

Kelly Kitchens

Programming & Special Events Coordinator

City of Elizabethton Parks & Recreation

Jilian Reece

City of Elizabethton Parks & Recreation

Patricia Roberts

Deputy Director

City of Port St. Lucie Parks & Recreation Department

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