June 2020
What You Need To Know
On June 10, 2020 the Office of Drug Policy virtually facilitated the Governor's Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Advisory Group Meeting. Here's what you need to know:

  • The Governor's Advisory Group has completed 9 of 12 Charges.

  • Three new Charges added:
  • Charge 10: Oversee the planning and organization of statewide media awareness, prevention, and education campaigns.
  • Charge 12: Engage with existing telehealth groups and outline an effective pathway to advocate for and expand telehealth across the state.
  • Charge 13: Identify prevention and awareness focused funding priorities for the Governor's Advisory Group's final recommendations.

  • On October 15th, from 8:30am-12:30pm, ODP will be facilitating the Governor's Opioid Use and Substance Use Disorder Advisory Group Symposium. At which, the Advisory Group will present their recommendations to the Governor.

Meet Andrew Cascio

Salut! I am the new summer intern with the Office of Drug Policy.

Currently I am an undergraduate student at Boise State University, working towards a double major in psychology and quantitative economics. I decided to spend my summer at ODP to get experience in public administration and government, as well as to develop my understanding of evidence-based policy and behavioral health.
Prior to my studies at Boise State University, I was home-schooled and participated on the forensics (speech and debate) team at Columbia High School where I was ranked as one of the top competitors in the State of Idaho for International Extemporaneous Speaking and attended the 2018 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Lauderdale. Being home-schooled allowed me to get a uniquely diverse and enriching high school education, including dual credit classes on campus at the College of Western Idaho.

I am a native of Orange, California, and moved to the Boise, Idaho area when I was seven. In my free time when I am not either doing classwork or doing projects for the ODP, I enjoy reading about the latest research in the social sciences, hiking and camping, cooking, practicing French, and getting exercise!
Idaho Millennium Fund Updates
The Office of Drug Policy received funding from the Idaho Millennium Fund to provide FY2020 E-Cigarette/Vaping Education mini-grants. Grantees across the state used the funds to implement prevention strategies and education programming to address the use of e-cigarettes among Idaho youth. As the grantees wrap up their projects, we want to share some of the final products!
South Central Public Health District
The South Central Public Health District published the report Cloud Chasing: A Closer Look at the E-Cigarette Epidemic.
The report includes an abundance of information about the history of e-cigarettes, the different devices, and the potential dangers of vaping.

Copies of the publication are available online at
West Ada School District
The West Ada School District organized an Anti-Vaping PSA Contest. Alexander Gonzales, a 12th grader at Centennial High School, created this video and won first place!
Upriver Youth Leadership Council
The Upriver Youth Leadership Council in Kamiah, Idaho developed a series of 10-second anti-vaping videos! Watch the full series at the ODP YouTube Channel.
Pandemic hasn't increased local suicides, but officials say it's greatly impacted mental health
Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline Director Lee Flinn said the hotline hasn't had an uptick in call volume during the pandemic, but that there have been differences in the content of the calls from March and April of 2019 to March and April of 2020.

The hotline reported a 64% increase in callers reporting anxiety, a 48% increase for reported job loss, a 17% increase for social isolation and loneliness and a 15% increase for interpersonal conflicts such as domestic violence.

The pandemic may fuel the next wave of the opioid crisis
People with drug addictions are facing unique challenges in response to COVID-19. Among those challenges, people who use drugs are more likely to be immunocompromised, have reduced access to healthcare, and lack the resources to adopt health practices such as frequent hand washing and social distancing.

Over March and April the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) disaster distress helpline saw a nearly 900 percent increase in calls compared to the same time period a year ago.

We envision a safe and healthy Idaho free from the devastating impact of substance use on youth, families, and communities.