Count It! Drop It! Lock It!® (CLD), a comprehensive community plan for prescription drug misuse prevention, is based in Coffee County, Tenn. The program stems from the Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition (CCADC), whose mission is to create a safe and drug-free local community.
Now, with support from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation and the community at large, the initiative is launching a statewide effort to combat the misuse of prescription pain medication.
Many Tennesseans think opioid pain medication addiction is a risk for “other people,” and that they are not at risk. Despite this perception, 52 percent of individuals statewide have had concerns about family or loved ones becoming addicted, and 64 percent said they know someone who became addicted.
In fact, in 2014, 69,000 Tennesseans were addicted to opioids, and a record-setting 1,263 people died from prescription pain medication overdose.
CLD is focused on community outreach and education to reduce prescription drug misuse and addiction. With Tennessee’s ranking second in the nation in prescribing opioids, it is CLD’s mission to make the community aware of the risks and dangers associated with the prescription drug misuse epidemic.
With the support of the community, CLD has grown to have a presence in 58 counties in Tennessee. By partnering with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, CLD aims to continue its growth by expanding to counties with high numbers of prescriptions dispensed, overdose deaths and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Co-founder, Count It! Drop It! Lock It!®
Executive Director, Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition
Christina Merino joined the Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition in 2010 as prevention coordinator. In July of 2016, she moved into the role of executive director. As executive director, Merino is tasked with implementing evidence-based alcohol, tobacco and other drug-prevention strategies throughout Coffee County. She coordinates with partners and organizations in order to leverage support and buy-in from all sectors of the community, such as school systems, medical professionals, law enforcement and concerned community members. She will partner with Kristina Clark on the statewide implementation of the Count It! Drop It! Lock It!® initiative.
Prior to working for the CCADC, Merino served as a prevention specialist for Centerstone Behavioral Health Care for the Methamphetamine Awareness and Prevention program, an adolescent school-based methamphetamine-prevention program.
Merino earned her B.S. degree in community health from the University of Toledo in Ohio. She holds a Prevention Specialist II certification from the Tennessee Certification Board and IC&RC, and is a 2012 graduate of the CADCA National Coalition Academy.
Project manager, Count It! Drop It! Lock It!®
Grants Management and Sustainability Consultant, Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition
Kristina Clark was the first staff member hired by the Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition. In 2007, she came on as executive director and served in that role for nine years. She made the decision to move into a consultant role with the Coalition in 2016. She continues to write and manage grants for the Coalition. As the sustainability consultant, she partners with Christina Merino on the statewide implementation of the Count It! Drop It! Lock It!® initiative, which was developed under Clark’s leadership.
Prior to joining the CCADC, Clark held positions as a domestic violence court advocate and in-home counselor for at-risk youth. She has served as a board member for the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, a statewide prevention legislation advocacy organization, for the past four years. Clark also trains on the state and national levels concerning alcohol- and drug-prevention strategies, community coalition development, and nonprofit management.
She earned her B.S. degree in psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in 2006. She is a 2010 graduate of the CADCA National Coalition Academy, and received her Prevention Specialist II certification in 2012 from the Tennessee Certification Board and IC&RC.
Dr. Melissa Abadi
Evaluator, Count It! Drop It! Lock It!®
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Dr. Melissa Abadi is a research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). Holding a Ph.D. in health communication, she has a diverse background in health behavior promotion, applied health behavior theory, training program/intervention development and evaluation, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. She has successfully managed projects and directed teams in various fields of health research, effectively collaborating with multidisciplinary teams including state agencies, law enforcement, coalitions, schools, universities, medical offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and health and welfare agencies.
Abadi has been a project director on numerous studies focused on substance use and related harm among adolescent and young adult populations, and has published peer-reviewed articles stemming from this work. Currently, Abadi is principal investigator on a subcontract with the University of Louisville to develop and test a peer-led intervention to reduce risky drinking among college students through individual-level strategies. She also serves as project director on a study with Children International to conduct a biennial survey of children in 10 countries in order to assess program impact on health, education, empowerment and employability.
Under Abadi’s direction, PIRE will lead evaluation efforts for the Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition’s Count It! Drop It! Lock It!® initiative, assessing survey and archival data to better understand the prescription drug issue in Tennessee, and process data in order to determine program impact on reducing prescription drug abuse.